Post-Mortem Examinations (Jersey) Law 1995
A LAW to make provision for the holding of
inquests and post-mortem examinations, and for connected purposes
In this Law, unless the
context otherwise requires –
the Royal Court;
means a member of the Honorary Police or a member of the States of Jersey
practitioner” means a medical practitioner registered under the Medical
Practitioners (Registration) (Jersey) Law 1960 and, for the
purpose of the performance of a post-mortem examination pursuant to Article 17
or 18, includes a person who is qualified to be registered under that Law;
registrar” has the same meaning as it has in the Marriage and
Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001, and in relation to a relevant
registrar, “register of deaths” means the register maintained by
that registrar for the registration of deaths under that Law.
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF VISCOUNT
2 Duty to notify death
to paragraphs (3) and (4), any person who has reason to believe that a
deceased person died –
(a) as a result of violence or misadventure;
(b) as a result of negligence or misconduct or
malpractice on the part of others;
(c) from any cause other than natural illness or
disease for which the deceased person had been seen and treated by a registered
medical practitioner; or
(d) under such circumstances as may require
shall immediately notify a
police officer of the facts and circumstances relating to the death, and the
police officer shall, as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter, notify the
Viscount of such facts and circumstances.
(2) Where –
(a) the police officer to whom notice is given
under paragraph (1) is not a member of the Honorary Police; and
(b) the body of the deceased person is in Jersey,
that police officer shall
forthwith communicate the facts and circumstances relating to the death to a Centenier of the parish in which the body is lying.
a person dies while –
(a) in the custody of the police; or
(b) in prison or other legal place of detention,
the police officer having
custody of that person, or the person in charge of the prison or other legal
place of detention, shall immediately give notice of the death to the Viscount
(but, for the purposes of this paragraph, a person shall not be taken to be in
a legal place of detention by virtue only of the fact that the person is
subject to a significant restriction on his or her liberty under Part 5 of
the Capacity and
Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016).
a person dies while –
patient in an approved establishment within the meaning of the Mental Health
(Jersey) Law 2016; or
(b) a child accommodated in
a children’s home within the meaning of the Children
(Jersey) Law 2002 or a home consisting of a care home service within the meaning of
paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to
of Care (Jersey) Law 2014;
the managers of the
approved establishment or (as the case may be) the person in charge of the home
shall immediately notify a police officer of the facts and circumstances
relating to the death, and the police officer shall as soon as reasonably practicable notify the Viscount of those facts and
person who fails to comply with paragraph (3) or (4) shall be guilty of an
offence and be liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
there is any reason to believe that a deceased person died in any of the
circumstances mentioned in paragraph (1), (3) or (4) –
(a) the body of the deceased person shall not be
cremated or buried;
(b) no chemical shall be applied to it
externally or internally; and
(c) no alteration of any kind shall be made to
until the Viscount so
person who contravenes paragraph (6) shall be guilty of an offence and be
liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
3 Inquiries by Viscount
(1) Where –
(a) a dead body has been found in a public
(b) there is reason to believe that a deceased person
died in any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 2(1), (3) or (4),
the body shall come under
the jurisdiction of the Viscount who shall issue such instructions and make
such investigation as may be required to enable the Viscount to determine whether or not an inquest should be held.
the purposes of exercising his or her powers under paragraph (1), the
Viscount may, without the consent of any other authority, direct the exhumation
of the body.
4 Power to hold inquest
Viscount may hold an inquest –
(a) where a dead body has been found in a public
(b) where –
body of the deceased has been removed into Jersey,
Viscount has reason to believe that the death occurred in Jersey
but the body of the deceased has been destroyed or cannot for any reason be
found or recovered,
and the Viscount has
reason to believe that the deceased died in any of the circumstances mentioned
in Article 2(1)(a) or (b) or 2(3); or
(c) where the Viscount has any reason to believe
that the deceased died suddenly and unexpectedly or in suspicious
inquest may be held pursuant to this Article notwithstanding that the body of
the deceased has been buried and not exhumed.
5 Duty to hold inquest
The Viscount shall hold an
the body of the deceased is in Jersey and the Viscount has reason to believe
that the deceased died in Jersey in any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 2(1)(a)
or (b) or 2(3);
the Viscount has reason to believe that the deceased died in any of the
circumstances mentioned in Article 2(4) unless –
is produced to the Viscount a certificate given under Article 64 of the Marriage and
Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001 by a
registered medical practitioner who is qualified, within the meaning of that Article,
in relation to the death, or
Viscount is satisfied that there is no ground for holding an inquest.
6 Burial or cremation of
Where a body has come
under the jurisdiction of the Viscount, the Viscount may, in
any time, release the body for burial;
any time after an inquest has been opened, release the body for cremation.
the purposes of an inquest, the Viscount may, if he or she considers it to be
in the public interest, summon 12 persons selected by the Viscount to act as a
person shall be selected to serve on a jury unless the person is eligible to
serve as a juror under the provisions of Article 63 of the Criminal
Procedure (Jersey) Law 2018.
it appears to the Viscount whether before he or she proceeds to hold an inquest
without a jury, or in the course of an inquest begun
without a jury that there is any reason for summoning a jury, the Viscount may
proceed to summon a jury in accordance with this Article.
of the jury shall take oath before the Viscount in the form set out in the Schedule.
during the course of an inquest a juror dies or is
discharged by the Viscount for any reason, the Viscount may proceed with the
remaining jurors and take their finding which shall have the same effect as the
finding of the whole number, so long as the number of jurors is not reduced
8 Inquest without a jury
provisions of this Law relating to the procedure in connection with an inquest
shall, as respects an inquest, or any part thereof, which is held without a
jury, have effect subject to such modifications as are rendered necessary by
the absence of a jury and, where the whole of an inquest is held without a
jury, the finding of the inquest shall be under the hand of the Viscount alone.
an inquest, or any part thereof, is held without a jury anything done at the
inquest, or at that part of the inquest, by or before the Viscount alone shall
be as validly done as if it had been done by or before the Viscount and a jury.
9 Summoning of witnesses
the Viscount intends to hold an inquest, he or she may issue a summons to any person
whom he or she thinks necessary to attend the inquest at the time and place
specified in the summons for the purpose of giving evidence concerning the
Article does not prevent a person who has not been summoned from giving
evidence at the inquest.
10 View of body
any body comes under the jurisdiction of the
Viscount, he or she may view the body but shall not be obliged to do so.
validity of an inquest shall not be questioned in any court on the ground that
the Viscount did not view the body.
11 Proceedings at inquest
Viscount may at the inquest examine on oath all persons having knowledge of the
facts whom he or she thinks it expedient to examine.
any inquest, any person who in the opinion of the Viscount has a sufficient
interest in the subject or the result of the inquest may attend personally or
be represented by an advocate or solicitor and may question witnesses.
Attorney General shall be entitled to attend or to be represented at any
inquest and to examine, or cause to be examined, any witness.
to the provisions of this Article, an inquest shall be held in public.
the Viscount considers it desirable in the interests of justice or good order,
he or she may exclude any person from the whole or any part of the proceedings
at the inquest, or may prohibit or restrict the
publication of any part of the evidence given at the inquest.
Viscount may direct that any witness not yet heard at an inquest shall go and
remain outside the place of hearing until required to give evidence.
any inquest the Viscount may admit any evidence that he or she thinks fit whether or not the same is otherwise admissible in a court
12 Protection of witnesses
Every witness attending and giving evidence at an inquest held
under this Law and every advocate and solicitor (including the Attorney General
or his or her representative) and every interested person appearing before the
Viscount shall have the same privileges and immunities as they would have in a
court of law.
13 Adjournment of inquest
to the provisions of this Article, the Viscount may adjourn an inquest from day
to day or for such time as he or she sees fit.
at an inquest the Viscount is informed that some person has been, or may be,
charged with causing the death in respect of which the inquest is being held,
the Viscount shall, subject to paragraph (3), adjourn the inquest until
after the conclusion of any criminal proceedings and, if a jury has been
summoned, the Viscount may, if he or she thinks fit, discharge them.
(a) need not adjourn the inquest pursuant to paragraph (2)
if, before he or she has done so, the Attorney General notifies the Viscount
that such adjournment is unnecessary;
(b) may in any case resume the adjourned inquest
before the conclusion of any criminal proceedings if notified by the Attorney
General that it is open to the Viscount to do so.
the Viscount resumes an inquest which has been adjourned pursuant to paragraph (2)
and for that purpose summons a jury (but not where the Viscount resumes without
a jury, or with the same jury as before the adjournment) the Viscount shall
proceed in all respects as if the inquest had not previously been begun and,
subject to paragraph (5), the provisions of this Law shall apply as if the
resumed inquest were a fresh inquest.
the Viscount resumes an inquest which has been adjourned pursuant to paragraph (2),
the finding of the inquest must not be inconsistent with the outcome of any
14 Finding of inquest
hearing the evidence the jury shall give its finding
in writing which shall state –
(a) who the deceased was; and
(b) how, when and where the deceased came by his
or her death,
so far as such particulars
have been proved to them.
jury shall also enquire of and find the particulars required by or under the Marriage and
Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001 to be registered concerning the
jury shall not make any finding of legal responsibility on any matter referred
to in paragraph (1).
the jury fail to agree on a finding the Viscount may accept a majority finding
where not more than 2 members of the jury disagree.
any other case of disagreement, the Viscount shall discharge the jury and
summon another and the inquest shall then proceed as
if the first inquest had not taken place.
finding shall be transmitted by the Viscount to the Court for registration.
the Court has registered the finding, the Viscount shall notify the relevant
registrar for the parish in which the death occurred, and the relevant
registrar shall make an entry in the register of deaths accordingly. 
15 Order to hold inquest
in respect of any death the Court is satisfied, on the application of any person
appearing to it to have sufficient interest in the matter, that the Viscount
refuses or neglects to hold an inquest which ought to be held, the Court may order
the Viscount to hold an inquest into the death.
the order of the Court otherwise provides, any such inquest shall be held in
the same manner as any other inquest.
16 Court may order fresh
inquest to be held
an inquest has been held and it is shown to the satisfaction of the Court, on
an application made by, or on behalf of, the Attorney General that, by reason
of fraud, irregularity of proceedings, the discovery of new facts or evidence,
or otherwise, it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice that
another inquest should be held, the Court may quash the finding of the former
inquest and order that another inquest should be held.
any such inquest, unless the Court otherwise directs, all evidence taken on the
former inquest in respect of the death shall be deemed to have been taken on
the new inquest.
as otherwise provided by this Article, or by the order of the Court, any such
inquest shall be held in the same manner as any other inquest.
POST-MORTEM AND SPECIAL EXAMINATIONS
Viscount may at any time before the termination of an inquest authorize a
registered medical practitioner to perform a post-mortem examination of the
body of the deceased person.
registered medical practitioner who has attended the deceased person
immediately prior to his or her death shall be entitled to be present at the
post-mortem examination and the Viscount may, if he or she thinks it necessary,
have notice served on any such registered medical practitioner requiring him or
her to attend the post-mortem examination or to submit a report for the
assistance of the person holding the post-mortem examination.
application being made to him or her, the Viscount may permit any other person
to be represented by a registered medical practitioner as an observer at any
such post-mortem examination.
18 Post-mortem examination
the Viscount is informed that there is reasonable cause to suspect that a person
has died of an unknown cause, if he or she is of opinion that a post-mortem
examination may prove an inquest to be unnecessary, he or she may authorize any
registered medical practitioner to make a post-mortem examination of the body
of the deceased and to report the result thereof to the Viscount in writing.
following a post-mortem examination under paragraph (1), the Viscount
decides that an inquest is unnecessary, the Viscount must authorize the
registered medical practitioner who conducted the examination to deliver to the
relevant registrar for the parish in which the death occurred a certificate stating
the cause of death as disclosed by the examination, and the relevant registrar
must make an entry accordingly in the register of deaths for that parish.
of a certificate in accordance with paragraph (2) shall act as a discharge
of the duty in Article 64 of the Marriage and
Civil Status (Jersey) Law 2001.
in this Article shall be construed as authorizing the Viscount to dispense with
an inquest in any case to which Article 5 applies.
19 Viscount may require
Whether or not an inquest is to be held, the Viscount may require
any registered medical practitioner who has recently attended the person into
whose death the Viscount is inquiring to supply him or her with a medical
report relating to the deceased person.
20 Viscount may order analysis
Where the Viscount considers an analysis of any
thing necessary for the purposes of his or her duties under this Law, the
Viscount may direct that such analysis be made, and the person who makes or
supervises such analysis shall submit a report of the analysis to the Viscount.
21 Connétable to be notified of inquest
the Viscount –
(a) intends to hold an inquest; and
(b) has reason to believe that, immediately
before the person’s death, the deceased person was resident in Jersey,
the Viscount shall notify
the Connétable of the parish in which he or
she believes the deceased person to have been resident of the time and place of
to Article 11(5), a Connétable who has
received notification from the Viscount under paragraph (1) shall be
entitled to attend the inquest or to be represented thereat by a Centenier of the parish.
22 Attendance of jury and
Every person summoned as a member of a jury or as a witness who
fails without good and sufficient cause to obey any such summons, or who
refuses without lawful excuse to answer any question put to him or her at the
inquest, shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine not exceeding
level 2 on the standard scale.
23 Unlawful publication of proceedings
Every person who publishes any proceedings of an inquest in
contravention of a prohibition or restriction under Article 11(5) shall be
guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine.
All expenses incurred by the Viscount in connection with the
holding of inquests, and in the discharge of his or her other functions under
this Law, shall be paid out of the annual income of the States.
25 Power to make Rules
power to make Rules of Court under the Royal Court
(Jersey) Law 1948 shall include a power to make Rules relating
to the procedure and practice to be followed by the Viscount under this Law and
to give effect to this Law.
prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), Rules may be made as
(a) the records to be kept by the Viscount;
(b) the practice and procedure at or in connection
with inquests and post-mortem examinations;
(c) the fees to be paid to a registered medical
practitioner supplying a report or performing a post-mortem examination;
(d) the fees and costs, if any, to be paid to
members of the jury or witnesses at an inquest.
This Law may be cited as the Inquests and Post-Mortem Examinations
(Jersey) Law 1995.