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


Middleton, S and Buist, M, The coronial reporting of medicalsetting deaths: A legal analysis of the variation in Australian jurisdictions, Melbourne University Law Review, 37, (3) pp. 699-735. ISSN 0025-8938 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Buist, M (Professor Michael Buist)
ID Code:98299
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2015-02-10
Last Modified:2015-04-22
Downloads:141 View Download Statistics

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