Search

Controversial senior coroner Mary Hassell releases new protocol for dealing with deaths following High Court defeat

PUBLISHED: 10:48 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:17 19 July 2018

Senior coroner Mary Hassell outside Camden Town Hall. Picture: Polly Hancock

Senior coroner Mary Hassell outside Camden Town Hall. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The faith leader who successfully overturned senior coroner Mary Hassell’s “cab-rank” system has criticised her new draft policy to consider every death in inner north London for possible fast-tracking.

Rabbi Asher Gratt from the Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS) said Ms Hassell was “cunningly attempting to re-introduce through the back door her unlawful dogmatic ‘cab rank’ policy”.

Draft policy published in the wake of her High Court defeat by the Jewish burial society says Ms Hassell will triage cases first thing in the morning, and then prioritise them as necessary.

Reasons for fast-tracking burials could simply include a family asking to be dealt with more quickly; if the dead person is a child; or if there are religious or cultural reasons for an early burial.

Failing to take account of the latter is the reason Ms Hassell came unstuck last year. She withdrew an arrangement that had been in place since 2015 saying she would prioritise Jewish and Muslim people’s deaths – and found herself hauled before some of the country’s most senior judges accused of discrimination.

The action against Ms Hassell was brought by the Stamford Hill-based AYBS.

Rabbi Gratt said: “Why is she creating unnecessary road-blocks to consider every case for prioritisation and not just those who ask for it?

“She is clearly determined to continue causing irreparable hurt and offence to vulnerable bereaved families by pushing everyone into the fast-track lane so being prioritised becomes meaningless.”

He said he would back a policy where deaths are prioritised on request, after those who have been prioritised on legal grounds, such as homicides or organ transplants.

Other reasons to prioritise dealing with a person’s death include if they lived abroad, if they died in custody, or there are health and safety requirements.

How quickly the coroner’s officer can prepare a report will also be considered, as will the date of death.

The senior coroner also revealed St Pancras and Poplar coroner’s courts could be merged in the “not too distant future”.

The draft is more or less identical to what Mary Hassell told a public meeting two weeks ago she had been doing since losing the judicial review into her “cab-rank” procedure.

At the meeting, on July 5, she faced criticism for saying she would use a person’s name to identify whether they might be Jewish or Muslim and should therefore be considered a priority.

This was criticised by Camden councillor Jonathan Simpson, who was in attendance.

Ms Hassell’s remit covers deaths in Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The coroner’s office is taking comments on the draft as part of the consultation. They can be sent to St Pancras Coroner’s Court, Camley Street, London, N1C 4PP. The deadline for submissions is August 1.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:39

The killers of Camden model Harry Uzoka have been jailed for a combined total of more than 60 years.

Yesterday, 14:33

High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

Yesterday, 12:40

Seven months to the day after a single winter night saw two young men stabbed to death, Camden’s youth safety task force – led by Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer and Cllr Abdul Hai – last night recommended a series of measures to arrest the alarming upwards trend in youth violence in the borough.

Thu, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Thu, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a nearby cashpoint.

Thu, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Thu, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now