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Camden’s weekend and evening services were withdrawn after Mary Hassell was brought in as senior coroner for inner north London, which covers Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, in May last year.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

Yesterday, 17:40
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw. Picture: Joe Giddens

Camden’s primary schools are among the best performing in England – but its secondary schools are still lagging behind neighbouring London boroughs, Ofsted’s annual report reveals today.

Yesterday, 16:47
Yolanda Kenyi with the first gift as part of Highgate's live advent calendar project at Postal Plus in Aylmer Parade. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A privately-run post office kicked off Highgate’s live advent calendar on the first day of December.

Yesterday, 16:00
Archway Resource Centre, on Waterlow Road, provides an irreplaceable setting of community

Eight charities fear for their futures after being evicted from their low-rent premises.

Yesterday, 15:24
Smash and grab raiders were unaware they were being followed by police

Two moped riders who were carrying out a smash and grab burglary at a Hampstead convenience store were unaware police were tracking their every move.

Yesterday, 12:19
Tulip Siddiq is set to vote against bombing Syria

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said she was likely to vote against the package of measures that Prime Minister David Cameron introduced to the Commons last week.

Mon, 17:56
Squatters at 156 West End Lane in West Hampstead are evicted

Squatters have left empty former council offices in West Hampstead peacefully on Saturday morning after bailiffs arrived.

Mon, 15:11
Evidence for the trial

A woman from Crouch Hill has been disqualified from owning animals for life after keeping dogs in cages stacked on top of each other nearly every day.

Mon, 14:03
Claudia Tabitha, 23, Big Issue vendor. Photo: Polly Hancock

A pregnant Big Issue vendor has been overwhelmed by generous offers of support from local parents.

Most read news

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


Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder