Search

Mary Hassell: Rabbi welcomes senior coroner’s new faiths-friendly protocol to replace unpopular ‘cab-rank’ policy

PUBLISHED: 17:33 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 17 September 2018

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

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

Archant

Senior coroner Mary Hassell has today unveiled the new policy that will dictate how her office decides which deaths to deal with first.

Rabbi Asher Gratt of the Adath Yisroel Burial Society at the meeting. Picture: Polly HancockRabbi Asher Gratt of the Adath Yisroel Burial Society at the meeting. Picture: Polly Hancock

Her protocol has been welcomed by the rabbi who led the legal action that forced her to produce it.

Ms Hassell, whose remit covers Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, has also confirmed £80,000 allocated by Camden Council for the provision of an out-of-hours service will be introduced. She said the announcement of the funding at July’s public meeting about the protocol had been “a wonderful surprise”.

Rabbi Asher Gratt has been at the forefront of the legal battle that saw Ms Hassell forced to abandon her controversial “cab rank” method of prioritising deaths – that is, refusing to allow certain deaths to jump the queue on religious grounds – after a judicial review.

Rabbi Asher Gratt, of Stamford Hill’s Adath Yisroel Burial Society, told us this afternoon: “This is a huge improvement on where were six months ago. We’ve been in discussions over the past few months and the coroner has been very co-operative.”

Senior coroner Mary Hassell speaks to community members after a public meeting at Camden Town Hall 05.07.18.Senior coroner Mary Hassell speaks to community members after a public meeting at Camden Town Hall 05.07.18.

The new protocol formalises the triage system adopted by Ms Hassell recently, while also explicitly directing the coroner’s office to take into account “particular characteristics” – one of which is whether the deceased is “of a religion or culture where observers commonly seek early funeral”.

Dr Gratt added: “For the last six months we have seen a real willingness to co-operate and in our area we are now hopeful of receiving a compassionate coroner’s service.

“The coroner has abandoned the rigidity seen previously, and in fact has bent over backwards to show she is listening to our needs over the past few months.”

Ms Hassell was advised by the chief coroner in England and Wales to draw up a formal policy “to show a departure from the previous system”.

The new protocol sees due consideration given to “the needs and wishes of all concerned” when Ms Hassell’s office is prioritising the order in which it deals with cases.

In an explanatory statement released with the new protocol, Ms Hassell’s office said: “The senior coroner listened carefully to the views expressed throughout the public consultation process she conducted as part of her preparation for the protocol. She took into account the comments made at the public meeting she held at Camden Town Hall on July 5, 2018, and those provided in writing by various members of the community, plus the thoughts kindly shared by the chief coroner.”

The statement adds Ms Hassell is grateful for all assistance received during the consultation process but says she and she alone is responsible for any errors in the new guidance.

It also affirms that the senior coroner “intends it to be a practical and flexible tool”.

The legal action that led to the new protocol has seen Camden Council bear the brunt of the legal bill – it was forced to pay £68,000 in interim costs at the end of June.

The total cost of Ms Hassell’s and the burial society’s representation remains unclear.

Both the Jewish and Muslim faiths believe the dead should be buried as soon as possible, as a result of which Ms Hassell agreed three years ago to put them first.

But she sparked outrage when she withdrew that arrangement in October, saying its terms had been violated – something Adath Yisroel denied.

She instead brought in a first-come, first served policy of dealing with deaths – the “cab-rank” system. In response, Adath Yisroel brought the judicial review against her on grounds of discrimination, and won.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

13:35

Police chased a Volkswagen Polo across three boroughs on Monday morning after it crashed into a patrol car at low speed.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Crouch End inventor is crowdfunding to launch an innovative and wearable air pollution monitor inspired by his own worries as a new dad.

Friday, December 7, 2018

British Transport Police are looking to speak to a man about three women being racially abused on an underground train.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Carlton Tavern could be reopened in April, nine months after the planning inspectorate told them to rebuild it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Coffee isn’t the only thing Deniz Korkmaz is brewing up in Kentish Town.

Friday, December 7, 2018

We chat to five local designers and artists who tell us about the one thing they must have or do at home that puts them in the Christmas mood

Friday, December 7, 2018

An application to redevelop a house in Swiss Cottage, owned by an off-shore company linked to an address in the Panama Papers and billionaire property mogul Sol Zakay, has been approved.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two sisters from Muswell Hill were lucky enough to meet the Queen last Wednesday after playing a pivotal role in publication of a book about an adoption pioneer.

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

Hot Jobs

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