A coroner is an independent judicial office holder. Coroners investigate deaths that have been reported to them if it appears that the death was violent or unnatural, where the cause of death is unknown or where the person died in prison, police custody, or another type of state detention.
Coroners are appointed by and paid by the local authority for their area but they are independent of the local authority and government.
The work of coroners is overseen by the Chief Coroner who is the head of the coronial system, providing national leadership for coroners in England and Wales. The current Chief Coroner is His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC.
In particularly complex cases (for example where there are multiple deaths) a judge may be appointed to oversee the inquest. Sir John Saunders has assumed responsibility for these inquests from the Senior Coroner for the Manchester City Area.