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Related to coroners: Coroner's inquest


(kôr`ənər), judicial officer responsible for investigating deaths occurring through violence or under suspicious circumstances. The office has been traced to the late 12th cent. Originally the coroner's duties were primarily to maintain records of criminal justice and to take custody of all royal property. In England this second function persists in his jurisdiction over treasure-trovetreasure-trove,
in English law, buried or concealed money or precious metals without any ascertainable owner. Such property belongs to the crown. The present practice in Great Britain is for the crown to pay the finder for the treasure-trove if it is of historic or artistic
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. In his present-day work of determining cause of death, the coroner proceeds by means of the inquestinquest,
in law, a body of men appointed by law to inquire into certain matters. The term also refers to the inquiry itself as well as to the findings of the inquiry. The most usual form of inquest today is that conducted by the coroner to discover the cause of a death that was
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 whenever there is doubt. In several of the United States the coroner has been replaced by the medical examiner, who can only conduct post-mortem examinationspost-mortem examination
or autopsy,
systematic examination of a cadaver for study or for determining the cause of death. Post-mortems use many methodical procedures to determine the etiology and pathogenesis of diseases, for epidemologic purposes, for establishment of
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, and who works in cooperation with the public prosecutor.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Great Britain, the USA, and some other coun-tries with the Anglo-Saxon legal system, an official whose duties include establishing the causes of any death that occurs either under unexplained circumstances or suddenly.

When violence is suspected to be the cause of death, the coroner usually holds an inquest. He hands over all his materials for examination by a coroner’s court consisting of the coroner him-self and a small jury (six jurors), which hears witnesses and experts. Then the jury renders a verdict on the causes of death. The decision of a jury is obligatory only to establish the fact of violent death, on the basis of which the case is pursued further. In some cases (for example, accidental death) the coroner may render the decision alone.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a public official responsible for the investigation of violent, sudden, or suspicious deaths and inquiries into treasure trove. The investigation (coroner's inquest) is held in the presence of a jury (coroner's jury)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
At the appointed hour arrives the coroner, for whom the jurymen are waiting and who is received with a salute of skittles from the good dry skittle-ground attached to the Sol's Arms.
It is considered not unlikely that he will get up an imitation of the coroner and make it the principal feature of the Harmonic Meeting in the evenlng.
"Well, gentlemen," resumes the coroner. "You are impanelled here to inquire into the death of a certain man.
In answer to the Coroner's question, she told how, her alarm clock having aroused her at 4.30 as usual, she was dressing, when she was startled by the sound of something heavy falling.
"That would have been the table by the bed?" commented the Coroner.
"Who is often almost as ignorant as the coroner himself," said Lydgate.
Chichely was his Majesty's coroner, and ended innocently with the question, "Don't you agree with me, Dr.
"The Coroner: Did your father make any statement to you before he died?
"The Coroner: What was the point upon which you and your father had this final quarrel?
But the coroner seemed to take it for granted, naturally enough, that I, as a total stranger in the neighbourhood, and a total stranger to Sir Percival Glyde, could not be in a position to offer any evidence on these two points.
I did not feel called on to volunteer any statement of my own private convictions, in the first place, because my doing so could serve no practical purpose, now that all proof in support of any surmises of mine was burnt with the burnt register; in the second place, because I could not have intelligibly stated my opinion--my unsupported opinion--without disclosing the whole story of the conspiracy, and producing beyond a doubt the same unsatisfactory effect an the mind of the coroner and the jury, which I had already produced on the mind of Mr.
Nobody could touch the body until the coroner came.