That sudden deaths will occur from time to time is a sad reality of life about which
the law and lawyers can do little. That the law concerning such deaths need not unduly
increase the distress caused to the bereaved relatives is a matter over which we
lawyers have much greater control.
Understanding of the formal processes required by the law is one of the best ways
that we can help relatives cope with the legal investigations. It is often in the
public interest to require investigations into unnatural deaths. But it is critical
for bereaved relatives to be fully informed about the decisions that they are able
to make about participation in these investigations. It is also important for them
to understand why they are not at present able to participate in other aspects of
This publication goes a long way towards achieving these ends. By taking a holistic
approach to coronial law, the contributors have provided concise information on all
aspects of these processes.
I commend all those who have contributed to the research, writing, production and
funding of this publication. It is testimony to their commitment to the development
of a compassionate legal system that addresses all the needs of those who come in
contact with it.