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Coroner

Coroners look into deaths from unnatural or unknown causes, or those that have happened suddenly or in prison or police custody.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £85,000 to £115,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You must be a qualified barrister, solicitor, or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), with at least 5 years' qualified experience.

You’ll usually start as a deputy or assistant deputy coroner.

All appointments of coroners and assistant coroners are made by local authorities, with the consent of the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor. All coroners must retire by the age of 70.

2. Skills required

You’ll need to be:

  • able to break down events and evidence into smaller parts and explore them
  • able to explain difficult, legal and medical terms in an understandable way
  • tactful and sensitive when dealing with relatives of the deceased
  • accurate at keeping records
  • able to communicate well with a wide range of people including police officers, witnesses, the media and members of the public

3. What you'll do

You’ll:

  • decide the cause of death by looking into all the available information
  • talk to other professionals involved, like the deceased's doctor
  • order a post-mortem examination if there are questions around the cause of death
  • notify the Registrar about the death, and results of any inquest held
  • deal with upset relatives
  • write reports and recommendations to prevent future deaths

4. Salary

Starter: £85,000

Experienced: up to £104,000

Highly Experienced: £115,000 or more (chief coroner)

Salaries for full-time coroners are based on the population size of the area they cover.

Part-time coroners and deputy coroners are paid a fee according to the number of cases they take on each year, ranging from around £10,000 for 200 cases to £50,000 for 2000 cases.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You must be available at all times to carry out any duties in connection with inquests and post-mortem examinations. 

24-hour cover varies from district to district, and coroners can work long hours.

Some coroners are full-time, but others work part-time and spend the rest of their time working in private legal practice.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you can apply for the position of senior coroner, with chief coroner the most senior position. 

You can also apply to become a course director with the Judicial College.

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Last updated: 11 October 2017