A coroner investigates the underlying reasons why someone suddenly dies whether it seems suspicious, or is unexpected. They are independent officers and are required to investigate the cause of all deaths reported to them. A coroner will often work with the deceased person’s health care provider to obtain more information regarding the person’s health and to identify any underlying medical concerns or conditions. If the coroner finds that there are unanswered questions, or feels that more information is needed to determine the cause of death, he or she will order a post-mortem to be performed. The coroner will review the results of the post-mortem and might determine to hold an inquest if the post-mortem reveals that the person did not die from natural causes.
When a coroner has all his or her information regarding the cause of death, he or she will supply the information, as well as any results obtained from an inquest, to the Registrar. Coroners also ensure that all tests and procedures used in determining the cause of death follow the dictates and procedure of law. Additional tasks include appointing assistant coroner and deputies.
Those considering a career as a coroner should ensure that they have highly developed communication skills. Critical thinking, logical reasoning, and the ability to understand, as well as communicate, various legal and medical terminologies is important. Since you will be dealing with the families of the deceased, it is important to have a compassionate approach to your work. Being sensitive to the feelings of the deceased is imperative when making public statements, or rulings. Working with other professionals, such as media, journalists, and the police is often required, so you must be able to communicate effectively with different types of people. Coroners must be highly detailed people, and often have a meticulous approach. They are scientific investigators that research the various causes contributing to a person’s death.
A coroner is employed through a local council but is always under the direct authority and supervision of the Ministry of Justice. For information regarding opportunities available, you may visit the Coroner’s Society of England and Wales. Coroners must first be qualified barristers, solicitors, or doctors and must have previous experience, five years is recommended. To begin as a coroner, you would first work as a deputy or assistant deputy coroner. This position is obtained by having a licensed coroner appoint you.
As a coroner, you would typically work a 40-hour week between Monday and Friday. There is also plenty of part time work available and many continue other professions and work as a part time coroner. Coroners who work part time are paid on a case-by-case basis, those who work full time earn between £65,000 and £83,000 per year.