Coronial Reform

In October 2006, representatives of Murdered Abroad (then called SAMM Abroad) met the Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs, Harriet Harman, and discussed the government's Draft Coroners Bill's proposal to remove the automatic right to a UK inquest following the suspicious death of a UK citizen abroad (except in a few named circumstances).

Harriet Harman requested that we compile evidence illustrating the importance to bereaved families of a UK Coroner's inquest when a UK citizen is the victim of murder or manslaughter abroad. Our members provided this evidence, showing how a UK inquest had helped them find out more about their loved one's death and get justice abroad.

We were very grateful to all our members who helped in this difficult process by providing evidence.

We welcomed the Ministry of Justice statement that the Draft Bill had been changed. It now conveys on Coroners the same duty to investigate a death abroad, as a death in the UK.

Since 2001, our organisation has provided feedback on coronial reform many times. We opposed the Coroners Draft Bill in its recommendation to abolish mandatory inquests on the repatriation of a body after a suspicious death abroad. We proposed to instead seek inquests after the murder or manslaughter of a British citizen even if a body is not repatriated, and to widen the responsibilities of the Coroner after murder abroad.