Coroners Courts and Death Investigations
- Springer Nature
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- Australian Courts: Controversies, Challenges and Change, 2023, pp. 247-263
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The role of Coroners Courts in Australia in investigating deaths of unknown or unnatural causes and deaths in State custody is unique, complex and challenging. These courts and their practices are under immense scrutiny from those awaiting outcomes, including the family of the deceased and other parties such as police, corrections and health. The potential of the coronial system to improve public health and other social outcomes and to increase accountability of public institutions makes it both important and at times controversial. Despite this, the coronial jurisdiction is relatively under-considered in the broader literature on law and justice. Drawing upon original research, this chapter examines a range of procedural and integrity challenges facing Coroners Courts in responses to First Nations deaths in custody. In exploring these challenges, the influence on the court of the broader social and political context in which it operates is considered.
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