Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011

32.

Amendment of Coroners Act 1962.

32.— The Coroners Act 1962 is amended—

( a) by the insertion, after section 6 of the following new section:

“Coroner’s district of Dublin.

6A.— (1) The coroners’ districts of the county of Dublin and the city of Dublin existing immediately before the coming into operation of this section shall as and on the coming into operation of this section be amalgamated into one district and shall be known as the coroner’s district of Dublin.

(2) On the coming into operation of this section, section 6 shall cease to apply to the coroner’s district of Dublin.

(3) The persons who immediately before the coming into operation of this section held the offices of coroner and deputy coroner in the districts referred to in subsection (1) shall from that day hold such respective offices in the coroner’s district of Dublin.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), the financial arrangements referred to in section 23(4) of the Local Government (Dublin) Act 1993 shall continue to operate until the Minister specifies arrangements pursuant to subsection (5).

(5) The Minister may specify administrative arrangements in respect of the coroner’s district of Dublin and such arrangements shall be operated by the local authorities to which they relate.

(6) Where a vacancy occurs in respect of the coroner’s district of Dublin, the Minister shall make arrangements to fill the vacancy.

(7) Where more than one person stands duly appointed to be a coroner in respect of the coroner’s district of Dublin, the Minister shall designate one of those persons to be the senior coroner of that district, but any such designation shall not affect the independence of any other coroner of the district in the performance of his or her functions as a coroner.

(8) The person designated under subsection (7) to be senior coroner in respect of the coroner’s district of Dublin shall order the work of that district.”,

( b) by the substitution of the following section for section 7:

“Amalgamation of districts.

7.— (1) Where a vacancy arises in the office of coroner in respect of a coroner’s district, and that district is within the area of a local authority in which there is more than one coroner’s district, the Minister, following consultation with the local authority concerned, may direct that a coroner holding office in respect of another coroner’s district within the area of that local authority shall also hold office as coroner in respect of the district in which the vacancy arose, and on the direction of the Minister coming into effect, the coroner’s districts shall stand amalgamated.

(2) The Minister shall not issue a direction under subsection (1) unless the coroner concerned consents to act as coroner in respect of the amalgamated district.”,

( c) in section 8 by the substitution of the following for subsection (2):

“(2) Subject to section 7 and subsection (2A), the coroner for a coroner’s district shall be appointed by the local authority in whose area the district is situate.

(2A) The coroner for the coroner’s district of Dublin shall be appointed by the Minister.”,

( d) in section 11 by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (2):

“(3) Where a coroner intends to resign or will vacate the office on attaining the age of 70 years, he or she shall give not less than 3 months notice of such intention or attainment to the Minister.”,

( e) by the insertion, after section 11, of the following section:

Temporary coroner.

11A.— (1) A person who stands appointed as a coroner or deputy coroner in respect of a coroner’s district may, with the consent of that person, be assigned by the Minister to act temporarily as a coroner in respect of a different coroner’s district in which the coroner appointed to that district is temporarily absent or in respect of which the office of coroner is vacant.

(2) A person assigned to act as a temporary coroner under subsection (1) shall on being so assigned have all the powers of a coroner in relation to the coroner’s district concerned.

(3) An assignment made under subsection (1) may be revoked by the Minister at any time.

(4) Section 7 shall not apply where a person is appointed to act temporarily as a coroner under this section.”,

( f) in section 13—

(i) by the substitution in subsection (1) of “Subject to subsection (1A), every coroner” for “Every coroner”,

(ii) by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (1):

“(1A) A person shall not be appointed as a deputy coroner without the prior approval of the Minister.”, and

(iii) by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (8):

“(9) Where a deputy coroner intends to resign or will vacate the office on attaining the age of 70 years, he or she shall give notice of not less than 3 months of such intention or attainment to the coroner for the coroner’s district concerned and to the Minister.”,

and

( g) by the substitution of the following for section 14:

“Qualification for appointment as coroner or deputy coroner.

14.— (1) A person shall not be appointed to be a coroner or a deputy coroner under this Act unless he or she is—

( a) a barrister who has practised as a barrister for not less than 5 years,

( b) a solicitor who has practised as a solicitor for not less than 5 years, or

( c) a registered medical practitioner who has practised as a medical practitioner for not less than 5 years.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), in reckoning the period of time a person has practised as a barrister, any period during which that person practised as a solicitor shall be taken into account.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), in reckoning the period of time that a person has practised as a solicitor, any period during which that person practised as a barrister shall be taken into account.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1), where a person who is a solicitor or a barrister has served in a position—

( a) as an officer in the civil service of the State,

( b) as an officer in the civil service of the Government, or

( c) as a member of the staff or as an officer of a body established by or under statute,

and it was a condition of eligibility for appointment to such position that the person be enrolled as a solicitor in the State or have been called to the Bar of Ireland, service in such position shall be reckoned as practice as a solicitor or barrister, as the case may be.

(5) Where a person has been appointed as a coroner or deputy coroner, the fact that such person ceases to practice as a barrister, solicitor or registered medical practitioner shall not affect the entitlement of that person to continue in office as a coroner or deputy coroner.

(6) Subsection (5) does not apply where the person concerned ceased to practice by reason of—

( a) in the case of a barrister, having being disbarred,

( b) in the case of a solicitor, having been struck off the roll of solicitors, or

( c) in the case of a medical practitioner, his or her registration in the Register of Medical Practitioners having been cancelled or suspended under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007,

otherwise than at the request of the person concerned.

(7) For the purposes of determining eligibility for appointment as a judge of any court established by the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961

( a) in the case of a person who, is a barrister who, but for this subsection would not be considered to be in practice as a barrister as respects a particular period, service as a coroner for that period shall be reckoned as practice as a barrister,

( b) in the case of a person who is a solicitor who, but for this subsection, would not be considered to be in practice as a solicitor as respects a particular period, service as a coroner for that period shall be reckoned as practice as a solicitor.

(8) Subsection (7) shall not apply where—

( a) in the case of a barrister, that person has been disbarred,

( b) in the case of a solicitor, that person has been struck off the roll of solicitors,

otherwise than at the request of the person concerned.”.