Camden campaign for out-of-hours coroner service for Jewish and Muslim families wins minister’s backing

10:00 21 July 2014

Meeting about the future of West Hampstead police station at West Hampstead library 07.03.13. Cllr Abdul Hai

Meeting about the future of West Hampstead police station at West Hampstead library 07.03.13. Cllr Abdul Hai

Polly Hancock

A government justice minister has thrown his weight behind a Camden councillor’s campaign for overnight and weekend coroner’s services to be rolled out nationally to meet the needs of Jewish and Muslim families.

Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, who is responsible for the government coroner’s and burial policy, vowed to look into standardising out-of-hours services in a meeting with Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden cabinet member for customers, communities and culture.

Camden’s weekend and evening services were withdrawn after Mary Hassell was brought in as senior coroner for inner north London, which covers Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, in May last year.

The move was met with anger from Muslim and Jewish communities, who believe they must bury their dead the same day if possible. For more than a year Cllr Hai has lobbied for better cultural understanding, out-of-hours availability and non-intrusive post-mortem techniques.

“In a way, the coroner’s services indirectly discriminates against a section of our community,” he told the Ham&High.

“I was reassured by Simon Hughes that he is looking to introduce a 24/7 service. There should be clearer guidance for people who are at their most vulnerable at a time when we should show compassion.

“Mr Hughes recommended I come up with what I wanted the government to put in place so we can have consistency and so there is no postcode lottery.”

An aid told Cllr Hai in an email that deputy Lib Dem leader Mr Hughes agreed with his suggestions following a meeting last month.

The aid wrote: “Many thanks for your suggestions. I know they are in line with the minister’s own thoughts on coronial services.”

A spokesman for the chief coroner, Judge Peter Thornton QC, said: “The chief coroner is working to ensure that coroners receive the guidance and training they need so that there is a more consistent service that supports bereaved families.

“The chief coroner is currently considering the issue of out of hours cover for London.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Controversial plans to build a 10-storey “big ugly block” of luxury flats in Hampstead were last night waved through by Camden Council.

A row has broken out over plans to dig out a basement car park and swimmming pool next to Hampstead Heath.

Yesterday, 17:15

A heritage campaigner has told of his devastation after he watched raiders ransack a disused pub that he fought to preserve.

Yesterday, 15:45

A historic red phone box in Highgate Village could soon be a tiny office space, complete with printing, scanning, copying and wifi

Yesterday, 11:00

Camden parents were forced to pay a total of £20,000 in school fines in the last year, new figures have revealed.

Yesterday, 07:08

This year’s Hampstead Christmas Festival has been called off, the Ham&High can reveal.

Wed, 19:00

The vicar believes the flags were taken down on both occasions as part of a targeted ‘homophobic attack’ on his church’s open and inclusive values

Wed, 17:39

Women have been warned to be vigilant when using the Black Path in West Hampstead after a lone female was sexually attacked in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now