The Chief Coroner has given useful guidance on the use of hearsay evidence in the Coroner’s Court.

Civil Litigation Brief

The Chief Coroner has issued a Law Sheet on the use of Hearsay Evidence in Coroner’s Courts.  It is available here


  • Hearsay evidence is admissible in coroner’s courts. Once it is admitted its value is a matter of weight in all the circumstances.
  • Coroner’s are not bound by the strict law of evidence.
  • Hearsay evidence (even anonymous hearsay evidence) cannot be excluded if the evidence is relevance. The question thereafter is how much weight should be given to that evidence.
  • Section 4 of the Civil Evidence Act 1995 sets out helpful criteria which coroner’s may wish to follow.
  • There is an overwhelming duty on coroners to act fairly. If hearsay evidence is controversial then first hand evidence should be called whenever possible.
  • In jury cases specific instructions in relation to weight should be given by the coroner.

The Note also summarises useful cases on the weight of…

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