Regina v Coroner for Southern District of Greater London, ex Parte Driscoll: Admn 22 Oct 1993

The applicant, a sister of the deceased, requested a judicial review of the decision of the coroner not to allow her to be represented and to cross examine witnesses.
Held: One of the coroner’s letters had been offensive and misleading. A close blood relative should normally be allowed to be represented. The coroner had erred in taking account of the bad relations between the applicant and the deceased’s widow. The route by which the coroner had arrived at his decision was so seriously flawed that the inquest verdict itself ought not to be allowed to stand. The test was whether an applicant’s desire to participate went beyond the wish to give relevant evidence and extended to a genuine concern regarding the scope of the inquest with an associated need to put views to witnesses.
As to the costs of the appeal, although one of the two sisters had received emergency legal aid, the other was unlikely to qualify for legal aid. The court identified why it should make a costs order against the coroner: (1) There was some evidence that the coroner had behaved ‘improperly’; (2) He had defended his decision in court and had therefore entered into the ‘lis’; and (3) The applicants would have to pay a significant amount of costs themselves if the costs order was not made against the coroner.


Kennedy LJ and Pill J


[1994] 159 JPR 45, Ind Summ 22-Nov-1993, Independent 11-Oct-1993, [1994] COD 91


Coroners’ Rules 1984 20(2)(h)


England and Wales


CitedRegina v East Sussex Coroner Ex parte Healy QBD 1988
The death occurred whilst diving some eight or nine miles offshore. The applicant, the deceased’s father challenged the coroner’s decision to refuse jurisdiction for an inquest.
Held: The body was not, in the terms of the 1926 Act, ‘in or near . .
CitedRegina v Poplar Coroner ex parte Thomas CA 15-Dec-1992
The deceased, aged 17, had had a severe asthma attack. The ambulance was delayed and she was taken to the hospital, but died on the way there despite assistance from police officers and latterly the ambulance staff. Evidence suggested that she might . .
CitedRegina v HM Coroner for Portsmouth Ex parte Keene (John) QBD 1989
The applicant challenged the coroner’s conduct of the inquest saying it had been carried out in a perfunctory manner.
Held: Even though the coroner was aware of information tending to a particular verdict, the inquest should be carried out . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina on the Application of Davies (No 2) v HM Deputy Coroner for Birmingham CA 27-Feb-2004
The claimant appealed against a costs order. She had previously appealed against an order of the High Court on her application for judicial review of the inquest held by the respondent.
Held: The coroner, and others in a similar position . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Coroners, Costs

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.194542