The privilege against self-incrimination in coroners' inquests

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    Abstract

    The privilege against self-incrimination has a venerable history in the conduct of coroners' inquests. However, recent statutory reforms to the privilege in coroners' courts, which have had disuniform outcomes throughout Australia, have complicated the circumstances in which the privilege is extended to those claiming its protection. This editorial reviews the evolving law on the privilege generally and rulings that have been made in high-profile coronial inquests, as well as the modest volume of appellate litigation on this important issue. It identifies that the emerging law on the area prioritises amongst relevant factors for the coroner's discretion to exercise coercive powers over witnesses' objections to give evidence the fact that they are charged with serious criminal offences, and that the need for and utility of the evidence are also functioning as important considerations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)491-505
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
    Volume22
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

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