Coroners Act 2006

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Justice

Version as at 20 November 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Coroners Act 2006

Public Act
2006 No 38
Date of assent
29 August 2006
see section 2

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


3Purpose of this Act
4Coroner’s role
5Coroners must perform their duties without delay
6Coroners must have regard to relevant practice notes
7Chief coroner’s functions
8Overview of this Act
10Coroner defined
11Application of Act to deaths of members of visiting forces
12Act binds the Crown
12ATransitional and savings provisions relating to amendments to this Act
13Duty to report deaths
14Deaths that must be reported under section 13(2)
15Reporting of deaths to coroner by Police
16Responsible coroner
17Investigations by police
18When New Zealand Police has exclusive right to custody of body
19When responsible coroner has exclusive right to custody of body
19APolice responsible for co-ordinating extraction of body
20Directions about removal of body
21Coroner not required to view body
21ACoroner may direct preliminary inspection
21BPreliminary inspection must include taking of swabs in certain circumstances relating to COVID-19 [Repealed]
22Representative for liaison with immediate family
23Coroner must give interested parties notice of significant matters
24Significant matters referred to in section 23(1)
25Viewing, touching, or remaining with or near body in coroner’s custody
26Matters to be taken into account under section 25(3)
27Family may request pathologist’s report on post-mortem
28Any person may access specified certificates and notices
29Access to other documents given to Secretary
30Charges for copies under section 28 or 29
31Coroner may direct post-mortem
32Criteria for decision whether to direct post-mortem
33Right in some cases to object to post-mortem
34Procedure for objections under section 33
35Procedure for objection in High Court
36Nature of post-mortem
37Post-mortem may be performed early in some cases
38Who may attend post-mortem
39Definitions for section 38
40Coroner may require person’s doctor to report
41High Court may order post-mortem in certain circumstances
42Release of bodies
43Restriction on release if no post-mortem directed
44Restriction on release if parts or samples to be retained
45Release of still-born children
46Costs of transporting body moved for post-mortem, etc
47Receipt, removal, and taking of parts and samples
48Retention of parts and samples on release of body
49Coroner’s authorisation under section 48(2)(b)
50Coroner must notify immediate family of retention, and of right to request return, of parts and samples
51Pathologists proposing to retain parts or samples under section 48(2)(c) must advise of right to request return
52Requests for return of retained parts and samples
53Parts and samples whose retention is not permitted must generally be returned when body released
54Restrictions on return and disposal
55Return on request of retained parts and samples
56Use and disposal of retained parts or samples whose return is not requested
57Purposes of inquiries
57ARecommendations or comments by coroners
57BCoroner must consult certain persons or organisations on recommendations or comments
58Adverse comments by coroners
59Jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries
59ALimits on coroners’ jurisdiction to open inquiries
60Deaths into which inquiries must be opened
61Deaths where coroner may decide not to open inquiries [Repealed]
62Other deaths
63Decision whether to open and conduct inquiry
64Duties of coroner who decides not to open inquiry
65Coroner may decide to open inquiry despite initial decision
66Which coroner conducts inquiry [Repealed]
67Chief coroner and Secretary to be notified of inquiry
68Procedure if person charged with offence
69Procedure if some other investigation to be conducted
70Coroner may decide not to open or resume postponed or adjourned inquiry
71Restrictions on making public details of self-inflicted deaths
71AChief coroner may grant exemption from restrictions in section 71
72Permission referred to in section 71(2)
73Definitions for sections 71 and 74
74Coroner may prohibit making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings
75Review of decisions relating to publication of details, evidence, etc
76People from whom evidence generally to be heard
77Hearings on papers and chambers findings
78Protection for witnesses and counsel
79Admission and verification of evidence
80Decision to hold inquest
81Date, etc, and notice of inquest
82Inquests usually to be before coroner alone
83Specialist advisers to sit with and help coroners
84Joint inquests
85Inquests usually to be public
86Coroner may exclude people from inquest
87Coroner may exclude witness until he or she gives evidence
88Evidence at inquest
89Others who may cross-examine at inquest
90Evidence by written statement confirmed by witness
91Evidence at distance for purposes of inquest
92Body must be viewed before certain inquiries concluded
93Certificate of and written reasons for interim findings
94Certificate of and written reasons for findings
94AChief coroner to monitor inquiries not completed within 1 year
94BChief coroner to publish information regarding certain inquiries for which findings not completed
95Inquiry if coroner has failed or refused to open one
96Inquiry if new facts discovered
97Further inquiry if sufficient reason
98Sections 95 to 97 subject to general jurisdiction
99Exercise of powers under sections 95 to 97
100Form and service of orders under sections 95 to 97
101Coroner must open and conduct inquiry accordingly
102Procedure at inquiries ordered under sections 95 to 97
102AUse of audio-visual links
104Relief coroners
105Chief coroner
105ADeputy chief coroner
106Acting chief coroner
106AAttorney-General to publish information concerning coronial appointment process
107Concurrent office or employment
108Coroners act full-time unless authorised to act part-time
109Maximum number of coroners
110Salaries and allowances
111When determination under section 110(1) comes into force
113Complaints about coroners
115Police to help coroners’ investigations
116Responsible department to provide administrative support
116AEstablishment and constitution of suicide and media expert panel
117Coroners’ powers and immunities generally
118Coroner may call for investigations or examinations or commission reports
119Coroner may refer death to other investigating authorities
120Coroner may by written notice require person to supply information or documents or other things
121Grounds for refusing to comply with written notice
122Warrant for information, document, or other thing
123Entry and search under warrant under section 122
124Duties when executing warrant under section 122
125Grounds for withholding thing sought by warrant
126Review of dismissal of claim that section 121(2) applies
127Limits on use of information, etc, given or produced in response to notice under section 120 or obtained through execution of warrant under section 122
128Warrant for removal of body
129Entry and search under warrant under section 128
130Warrant under section 128 to be produced
131Power to seize evidence relevant to post-mortem
132Chief coroner may issue practice notes
133Chief coroner must designate coroners for specified kinds of deaths
133AAppointment of responsible or replacement coroner
134Failure to supply information or documents or other things as required by coroner’s notice under section 120
135False or misleading statements and omissions in certain documents
136Non-compliance with direction about removal of body
137Failure or refusal to give report required
138False or misleading statement for purposes of section 64(3)
139Publication of information in contravention of section 71
139APublication of information in contravention of section 74
141Transitional provisions: amendments to Coroners Act 1988 effective day after assent are in Schedule 1 [Repealed]
142Transitional provisions: functions or powers available day after assent are in Schedule 2 [Repealed]
143Coroners Act 1988 repealed
143ATransitional and savings provisions: arrangements effective after commencement of Coroners Amendment Act 2016 are in Schedule 1
144Transitional provisions: arrangements effective on and after 1 July 2007 are in Schedule 3
145Amendments relating to complaints against coroners are in Schedule 4
146Consequential amendments are in Schedule 5