(a) a person who was the spouse of the deceased, or a parent, grandparent, child, brother or sister, or guardian or ward, of the deceased; and
(b) if the deceased was an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander—a person who, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island community of which the deceased was a member, had the responsibility for, or an interest in, the welfare of the deceased;
“inquest” means an inquest concerning the death of a person;
“inquiry” means an inquiry concerning a disaster or fire;
“legal practitioner” means a legal practitioner (however described) of the High Court, of another federal court or of the Supreme Court of the Territory, a State or another Territory;
“medical practitioner” means a person—
(a) who is registered under the Medical Practitioners Act 1930; or
(b) who is deemed to be registered under that Act by virtue of section 25 of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 of the Commonwealth;
“place” includes a vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of the Coroner’s Court appointed under section 11, and includes a Deputy Registrar;
“Registrar-General” means the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages;
(a) in a de facto marriage relationship with the deceased; or
(b) in a relationship (whether or not with a person of the same or the opposite sex) in which 1 provided personal or financial commitment and support of a domestic nature for the material benefit of the other;
“Torres Strait Islander” means a person who is a descendant of an indigenous inhabitant of the Torres Strait Islands.
(2) A reference in this Act to a death in custody is to be read as a reference to the death of a person—
(a) in a prison, lock-up or remand centre; or
(i) performing work pursuant to a community service order under the Supervision of Offenders (Community Service Orders) Act 1985;
(ii) serving a detention period in accordance with the Periodic Detention Act 1995;
(iii) being taken into or detained in custody, or subject to an order, under the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994, or subject to a certificate under section 4 of the Mental Health Act 1962;
(iv) being taken into or detained in custody, restrained, or otherwise being provided with care under, or subject to an order of the kind referred to in paragraphs 47 (1) (h) to (m) (inclusive) or an arrangement under section 69C or 69M of, the Children’s Services Act 1986;
(v) at a licensed place within the meaning of the Intoxicated Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1994;
(vi) in, or being taken into, or after being taken into, or while escaping or attempting to escape from, the custody of a custodial officer (other than a custodial officer referred to in paragraph (g) of the definition of “custodial officer” in subsection (1)); or
(vii) in, or being taken into, or after being taken into, the custody of a custodial officer referred to in paragraph (g) of the definition of “custodial officer” in subsection (1);
and includes death as a result of a fatal injury sustained in a place or in any of the circumstances referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).
part ii—the coroner’s court
4.(1) The Coroner’s Court established under section 3 of the Coroners Act 1956 continues in force as the Coroner’s Court.
(2) The Court is constituted by a single Coroner.
(3) The Court is a court of record.
Division 2—Appointment etc. of Coroners
A Magistrate is a Coroner
5. A person who is a Magistrate is a Coroner for the Territory.
6. The person for the time being holding or occupying the office of Chief Magistrate is the Chief Coroner.
Chief Coroner’s powers and functions
7. (1) The Chief Coroner is responsible for ensuring the orderly and expeditious discharge of the business of the Court.
(2) Subject to this Act, and after such consultation with the Coroners of the Court as is appropriate and practicable, the Chief Coroner shall make such arrangements as to the Coroner who is to constitute a Court in particular matter or class of matters as the Chief Coroner thinks fit.
8. (1) The Executive may, by instrument, appoint a person to be a Deputy Coroner.
(2) A Deputy Coroner holds office on such terms and conditions (if any) in respect of matters not provided for by this Act as are specified in his or her instrument of appointment.
Deputy Coroners’ powers
9. (1) Subject to the directions of the Chief Coroner, a Deputy Coroner has and may exercise the powers of a Coroner.
(2) The Chief Coroner shall not direct a Deputy Coroner to hold an inquest into a death in custody.
(3) A Deputy Coroner who is a medical practitioner is not competent or compellable to hold an inquest into the cause of the death of a person whom he or she attended professionally at or immediately before the death of the person or during the last illness of the person.
Oath or affirmation to be taken or made by a Coroner or Deputy Coroner
10. (1) A Coroner or Deputy Coroner shall not perform a function or duty of his or her office until he or she has taken the oath or made the affirmation set out in Schedule 1.
(2) An oath or affirmation may—
(a) be taken or made before; and
(b) be administered or received by;
a Judge of the Supreme Court or a person authorised for the purpose by the Attorney-General.
Registrar and Deputy Registrars
11. (1) The Registrar of the Magistrates Court is the Registrar of the Court.
(2) Each Deputy Registrar of the Magistrates Court is a Deputy Registrar of the Court.
(3) The Registrar of the Court may appoint such Deputy Registrars of the Court as the Registrar considers necessary for the purposes of this Act.
part iii—Jurisdiction of coroners
Division 1—Inquests into deaths
General powers of Coroner preserved
12. Except as otherwise provided by this Act, a Coroner has all the powers, authority and jurisdiction which were, immediately before the commencement of the Coroners Act 1956, vested in a Coroner.
Coroner’s jurisdiction in relation to deaths
13. (1) A Coroner shall hold an inquest into the manner and cause of death of a person who—
(a) is killed;
(b) is found drowned;
(c) dies, or is suspected to have died, a sudden death the cause of which is unknown;
(d) dies under suspicious circumstances;
(e) dies during or within 72 hours after, or as a result of—
(i) an operation of a medical, surgical, dental or like nature; or
(ii) an invasive medical or diagnostic procedure;
other than an operation or procedure that is specified in the regulations to be an operation or procedure to which this paragraph does not apply;
(f) dies and a medical practitioner has not given a certificate as to the cause of death;
(g) dies not having been attended by a medical practitioner at any time within the period commencing 3 months prior to the death;
(h) dies after an accident where the cause of death appears to be directly attributable to the accident;
(j) dies, or is suspected to have died, in circumstances that, in the opinion of the Attorney-General, should be better ascertained; or
(k) dies in custody.
(2) A Coroner has jurisdiction to hold an inquest into the manner and cause of death, outside the Territory, of a person, if—
(a) the person was ordinarily resident in the Territory; and
(b) the death occurred in any of the circumstances referred to in subsection (1).
(3) A Coroner has jurisdiction to hold an inquest notwithstanding that—
(a) the body of the deceased—
(i) is not within the Territory;
(ii) has been destroyed; or
(iii) is in a place from which it cannot be recovered; or
(b) in the case of a suspected death—the body of the deceased can not be found.
Decision not to conduct hearing
14. (1) A Coroner may decide not to conduct a hearing into a death if, after consideration of information given to a Coroner relating to the death of a person, the Coroner is satisfied that—
(a) the manner and cause of death are sufficiently disclosed; and
(b) a hearing is unnecessary.
(2) A Coroner shall not dispense with conducting a hearing into a death if the Coroner has reasonable grounds for believing that the person died—
(a) in custody; or
(b) while under, or as a result of the administration of, an anaesthetic administered in the course of a medical, surgical or dental operation.
(3) A Coroner who decides not to conduct a hearing into a death shall give to the Chief Coroner and a member of the immediate family of the deceased written notice of his or her decision including the grounds on which the decision was based.
Control of the body of the deceased
15. (1) Where—
(a) a death occurs in respect of which a Coroner is required to hold an inquest; and
(b) the body of the deceased is in the Territory;
a Coroner has control of the body until the Coroner has issued a certificate in accordance with the Form in Schedule 2.
(2) A Deputy Coroner is not authorised to issue a certificate under subsection (1).
Form of Coroner’s certificate
(a) the death of a person has been reported to the Coroner; and
(b) the Coroner is satisfied that there is no reason why the body of the deceased should not be buried, cremated, or taken out of the Territory for burial or cremation;
the Coroner may give a certificate in accordance with the Form in Schedule 2.
Assistance to State and other Territory Coroners
17. (1) A Coroner may exercise any of his or her powers under this Act to assist a Coroner of a State or another Territory in relation to a death in that State or other Territory.
(2) If the Attorney-General requests, a Coroner shall exercise any of his or her powers under this Act to assist a Coroner of a State or another Territory in relation to a death in that State or other Territory.
Division 2—Inquiries into fires
Coroner’s jurisdiction in relation to fires
18. (1) A Coroner shall hold an inquiry into the cause and origin of a fire that has destroyed or damaged property, if—
(a) requested to do so by the Attorney-General; or
(b) the Coroner is of the opinion that an inquiry into the cause and origin of the fire should be held.
(a) the owner or occupier of destroyed or damaged property requests a Coroner to hold an inquiry into the cause and origin of a fire; and
(b) the Coroner is of the opinion that an inquiry into the cause and origin of the fire should not be held;
the Coroner shall give to each owner or occupier who requested that an inquiry be held written notice of his or her opinion and the grounds on which the opinion is based.
Division 3—Inquiries into disasters
Coroner’s jurisdiction in relation to disasters
19. (1) The Chief Coroner shall, if requested to do so by the Attorney General, cause an inquiry to be held into the cause and origin of a disaster.
(2) The Chief Coroner shall not cause an inquiry to be held into the cause and origin of a disaster except with the consent of the Attorney General.
part iv—post-mortem examinations and exhumations
Dispensing with post-mortem examination
20. (1) A Coroner may dispense with the conduct of a post-mortem examination of a body if the Coroner, after considering the information furnished to him or her relating to the death, is satisfied that the manner and cause of death are sufficiently disclosed.
(2) A Coroner may dispense with the conduct of a post-mortem examination of a body if, on the request of a member of the immediate family of the deceased or a representative of that person, the Coroner is satisfied that the manner and cause of death are sufficiently disclosed.
Directions to medical practitioners to conduct post-mortem examinations
21. (1) Subject to section 28, a Coroner may, by order, direct a medical practitioner to conduct a post-mortem examination of the body of a person who has died in any of the circumstances in respect of which the Coroner has jurisdiction to hold an inquest.
(2) A Coroner may, by order, direct the same or another medical practitioner to conduct a further or more complete post-mortem examination of a body if satisfied that it is desirable to do so.