Consultation on coronial investigations into deaths abroad

Consultation opened on 27 October 2022. Closing date 22 December 2022.


The Department is consulting on a number of different options which would provide coroners in Northern Ireland with a statutory power to undertake an investigation into the death abroad of a Northern Ireland citizen where a body has been repatriated here.


Consultation description

Coroners’ courts are a key part of Northern Ireland’s judicial system. The role of a coroner is to conduct formal investigations, known as inquests, into certain deaths and to determine who the deceased was, and how, when and where they came to their death.


However coroners here cannot investigate the death of a Northern Ireland citizen in another jurisdiction. A body must be ‘found’ here, which means there must be an element of discovery or chance encounter, which is not the case when a body is repatriated.


The law in Northern Ireland is therefore different to that in the rest of the UK and Ireland. The Department is exploring a number of options which would bring our law into line with the rest of the UK and Ireland by providing for an investigatory process which could provide answers for bereaved families as to how, when and where their loved one came to their death abroad.

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