Additional Coroner appointed for Auckland

  • Christopher Finlayson

Sarn Herdson has been appointed as an additional coroner for the Auckland region, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

Ms Herdson will commence duties as a full-time coroner with effect from 7 February 2011

“Ms Herdson is a highly experienced former corner and I am very pleased that she has rejoined the team of dedicated individuals who serve in this important office,” Mr Finlayson said.

Ms Herdson was appointed as the deputy coroner for Auckland in 1997 and was subsequently appointed as one of the two full-time coroners for Auckland in 2001. She stood down as a coroner for personal reasons in 2007.

She subsequently accepted a six month appointment as a relief coroner and provided valuable assistance in training new coroners and undertaking special projects. Ms Herdson has been working as a solicitor at Meredith Connell, office of the Crown Solicitor since February 2008.

The three existing Auckland coroners currently account for approximately one quarter of coronial cases in New Zealand and with the continuing demographic shift north, the demand on the Auckland coroners is increasing.

Coroners are appointed by the Governor-General under the Coroners Act 2006 to investigate certain types of death. While coroners are warranted judicial officers who are required to have a legal background, their role is to undertake an inquisitorial process to discover how a death occurred rather than hold a trial to apportion blame.