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Chief coroner after Mary Hassell case: ‘Show proper respect to religion’

PUBLISHED: 11:40 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 18 May 2018

The chief coroner has issued a 'guidance' telling coroners to 'respect' religious beliefs when dealing with deaths. It comes after the controversy of Mary Hassell, who operates from St Pancras and Poplar Coroner's Courts. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

The chief coroner has issued a 'guidance' telling coroners to 'respect' religious beliefs when dealing with deaths. It comes after the controversy of Mary Hassell, who operates from St Pancras and Poplar Coroner's Courts. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Coroners have been told to give “proper respect” to religious beliefs in new burial policy. It follows the controversial case of north and east London coroner Mary Hassell.

The order comes a few weeks after the High Court quashed the “cab rank” system of Ms Hassell – who is the senior coroner for Camden, Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets – of dealing with deaths.

Muslim and Jewish faiths place special importance on people being buried as soon as possible. But Ms Hassell, before the court case, refused to take this into account and give priority.

The Chief Coroner of England and Wales has now released a “guidance” instructing: “A coroner should be open to representations that a particular case should be treated as a matter of urgency (whether for religious or other reasons), and that proper respect should be given to representations based on religious belief.”

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