University Of Tasmania
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The coronial reporting of medicalsetting deaths: A legal analysis of the variation in Australian jurisdictions

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 07:15 authored by Middleton, S, Michael Buist
This article examines the issue of when a medical setting death is reportable to the Coroner in Australia. It compares and contrasts the various deffinitions of medical-setting reportable deaths in the state and territory Coroners Acts, demonstrating great variability in approach. We argue in favour of the adoption by all jurisdictions of a deffinition, such as that in the Queensland Act, which encompasses 'health care' generally and includes purported health care and omissions in the provision of health care. The article goes on to examine the offiences and penalties that attach to a failure to comply with coronial reporting obligations. This analysis reveals a lack of consistent approach from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, both as to the nature and elements of the offiences and the seriousness of the penalties attached. We argue that states and territories should adopt a two-tier approach consisting of a strict liability offience with a low ffinancial penalty and a more serious offience requiring intent and carrying a harsher penalty. Finally, we advocate for Coroner's Guidelines to be issued in all jurisdictions to assist Australian health practitioners in better understanding their reporting obligations.


Publication title

Melbourne University Law Review








College Office - College of Health and Medicine


Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc.

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Rights statement

Copyright 2014 Melbourne University law review

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Justice and the law not elsewhere classified

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