Where we are up to
COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the progress of Coroners Court projects, such as the development of visual products and the creation of a culturally safe court. In response to the pandemic, Coroners Court hearings have been moved to an online platform where three hearings have already been held. Most matters have been adjourned, as families involved have expressed their preference for attending Court in person.
As of 22 July 2020, the Coroners Court has 153 open cases and two inquests adjourned due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On 22 September, the Victorian State Coroner, Judge John Cain released a practice direction outlining new protocols for the conduct of coronial investigations into Aboriginal deaths in custody. The practice direction formalises a range of culturally safe practices and services implemented within Court processes since the establishment of the Koori-led Coroners Koori Engagement Unit in 2019. The new practice direction also strengthens the Court’s response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody regarding coronial process.