Nearly one quarter of inquests in Australia run for more than three years, which may lead to delays in implementing coroners’ recommendations and prolong families’ grief, a study has found.
Researchers from Stanford University in the US and the University of Melbourne examined the timelines of 5,096 inquests held in Australia between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2013.
Although the definition of deaths that qualify for an inquest varies between jurisdictions, generally all unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths are reported to the coroner.
Inquests seek to determine what, if anything, could be changed to prevent similar deaths from occurring again. Recommendations are not legally binding, but their implementation can increase public safety.