Reducing the backlog of coronial cases

  • Hon Andrew Little
Courts Justice

The Government is taking action to reducing the backlog of coronial cases by appointing eight relief coroners, Minister for Courts Andrew Little announced today.

“More relief coroners will provide more support so families aren’t waiting long periods for coronial decisions affecting their loved ones,” Andrew Little said. 

“The relief coroners’ main focus will be on clearing the current backlog of cases by providing support to the National Initial Investigation Office which is notified of all sudden, unexplained or violent deaths in New Zealand and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“Families have expressed frustration over the delays in coronial decisions. This extra support is aimed to reduce waiting times for grieving families. 

“The eight relief coroners will manage cases from the time police report the death until the body is released from the mortuary, making directions on how a case will proceed such as if a post mortem is required and liaising with families around cultural considerations.

“The number of deaths reported to the coroner continues to increase year on year.

“The resourcing of the coronial system needs to be improved and these relief coroners will go a long way towards reducing how long it takes for a case to be completed.

“The relief coroners will be funded $7.5 million over four years from within the Ministry of Justice’s existing baselines. They will work primarily as duty coroners in part time roles,” Andrew Little said.