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Coroner. (a)
CORONERS are ancient officers by the common law, so called

because they deal principally with the pleas of the crown, and were of old time the principal conservators of the peace. 1 Inst. 271. 2 Haw. c. 9. § 1.

Concerning whom I shall shew,

1. Who may be a Coroner.

[3 Ed. 1. c. 10.–14 Ed. 3. st. 1. c. 8.] 11. How chosen.

[28 Ed. 3. c. 6.--58 G. 3. c. 95.] III. His Power and Duty in taking an Inquisition of


[3 Ed. 1. c. 10.—4 Ed. 1. st. 2.—7 G. 4. c. 61.] IV. His Power and Duty in other Matters.

[4 Ed. 1. st. 2. ]
V. His Fees.

[3 H. 7. c. 1.-25 G. 2. c. 29.)
VI. Punishment for not doing his Duty.

[3 Ed. 1. c.9.–3 H. 7. c. 1.-25 G. 2. c. 29.]

3 Ed. 1. c. 10. Dignity.

14 Ed. st. 1.

c. 8.


Number for one county.

I. waiho may be a Coroner. Of ancient time this office was of great estimation ; for none could have it under the degree of a knight. 3 Ed. 1. c. 10. 4 Inst. 271.

And by stat. 14 Ed. 3. st. 1. c. 8., no coroner shall be chosen unless he have land in fee, sufficient in the same county, whereof he may answer to all manner of people.

It should seem that there is no statute which limits the numbers of coroners.

In re the Coroner of Salop, 3 Swanst. 181., Sir S. Romilly, arguendo, stated, that in 1787, Lord Thurlow, on an application from the freeholders of Staffordshire, there being then only two coroners for that county, ordered writs for the election of two additional coroners. And in 1818, Lord Eldon ordered that a writ should be issued for the election of an additional coroner for the county of Salop. 3 Swanst. 183. The order recited that the approbation of the justices of the application for the appointment had been signified at their quarter sessions. And Lord Eldon stated that the usual course was to issue a writ for the election of a coroner on such a representation.

[As to coroner being a justice of the peace, see tit. Justices.] [As to coroners in boroughs, see tit. Corporations. ]

Coroner a justice. Coroners in boroughs.

(a) All the law on this subject may be found collected in a Treatise on Coroners by Mr. J. Jervis.

the county


II. How chogen. By stat. 28 Ed. 3. c. 6., the coroner (as of ancient time the 28 Ed. 3. c. 6. sheriffs and conservators of the peace) shall be chosen in full coun- To be chosen in ty, that is, in the county court, by the commons of the same county.

And this must be in pursuance of the king's writ for that purpose, issuing out of and returnable into the chancery; and none but freeholders (a) have a voice at such election, for they only are suitors to the county court. 2 Haw. c. 9. § 5. 10.

By stat. 58 G. 3. c. 95., after reciting that whereas there are 58 G. 3. c.95. no sufficient regulations for the election of coroners for counties, it Sheriff to hold is enacted, that upon every election to be made of any coroner or

his county

court for the coroners of any county in England and Wales, the sheriff of the

election of county where such election shall be made shall hold his county coroner at the court for the same election at the most usual place or places of usual place of election of coroners within the said county, and where the same election; have most usually been held for forty years last past, and shall there proceed to election at the next county court (6), unless the same fall out to be held within six days after the receipt of the writ de coronatore eligendo, or upon the same day; and then shall adjourn the same court to some convenient day, not exceeding fourteen days, giving ten days' notice of the time and place of election; and in case the said election be not determined upon the view, and if election with the consent of the freeholders there present, but that a poll not determined shall be demanded for determination thereof, then the said sheriff

, on view, then to or in his absence his under-sheriff, with such others as shall be de- proceed to take puted by him, shall forthwith there proceed to take the said poll,

a poll. in some public place, by the same sheriff, or his under-sheriff as aforesaid in his absence, or others appointed for the taking thereof as aforesaid ; and every such poll shall commence on the day upon Commencewhich the same shall be demanded, and be duly and regularly ment and duraproceeded in from day to day (Sunday excepted) until the same tion of poll. be finished; but so as that no poll for such election shall continue more than ten days at most (Sunday excepted), and the said poll shall be kept open seven hours at the least each day, between the hours of nine in the morning and five at night: And for the more Poll-clerks to due and orderly proceeding in the said poll, the said sheriff, or in be appointed his absence his under-sheriff, or such as he shall depute, shall ap- and sworn. point such number of clerks as to him shall seem meet or convenient for the taking thereof; which clerks shall all take the said poll in the presence of the said sheriff or his under-sheriff, or such as he shall depute ; and before they begin to take the said poll, every clerk so appointed shall by the said sheriff or his undersheriff, or such as he shall depute as aforesaid, be sworn truly and

(a) However inconsiderable the value of the property may be, it confers tlie right of voting.

(6) A sheriff having received the writ for the election of a coroner for the county more than six days before the next county court, did not, on the day when the next county court was held, proceed to the election, but gave notice that the election would take place at a county court to be held by adjournment fourteen days afterwards; an election at that adjourned county court was held to be void, as not being in conformity to the 58 G. 3. c. 95. § 1. In the matter of the coroner of Stafford, 2 Russ. Chan. Rep. 475.


3 с

58 G. 3. c. 95. indifferently to take the same poll, and to set down the names of

each freeholder, and the place of his abode and freehold, and the name of the occupier thereof, and for whom he shall poll, and to poll no freeholder who is not sworn, if required to be sworn by the candidates, or either of them, and which oaths of the said clerks

the said sheriff or his under-sheriff, or such as he shall depute, are Inspector of hereby empowered to administer; and the sheriff, or in his absence poll-clerk to be his under-sheriff as aforesaid, shall appoint for each candidate such appointed.

one person as shall be nominated to him by each candidate, to be

inspector of every clerk who shall be appointed for taking the poll; Freeholder, if and every freeholder, before he is admitted to poll at the same required, to be election, shall, if required by the candidates, or any of then, first sworn before

take the oath herein-after-mentioned, which oath the said sheriff he polls.

by himself or his under-sheriff, or such sworn clerk by him appointed for taking the said poll as aforesaid, is hereby authorized

to administer; videlicet, The oath of You swear, [or, being one of the people called Quakers, you qualification.

solemnly affirm,] that you are a freeholder of the county of and have a freehold estate, consisting of

lying at within the said county ; and that such freehold estute has not been granted to you fraudulently, on purpose to qualify you to give your vote at this election ; and that the place of your abode is at

; (and if it be a place consisting of more streets or places than one, specifying what street or place;) that you are twenty-one years of age, as you believe, and that you have not been before polled at this election.

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And in case any freeholder or other person taking the said oath or against perjury, affirmation hereby appointed to be taken by him as aforesaid, shall or subornation of perjury.

thereby commit wilful and corrupt perjury, and be thereof convicted, and if any person shall unlawfully or corruptly procure or suborn any freeholder or other person to take the said oath or affirmation in order to be polled, whereby he shall commit such wilful and corrupt perjury, and shall be thereof convicted, he and they for every such offence shall incur such pains and penalties as

are declared in and by two acts of parliament, the one made in the 5 Eliz. c. 9. fifth year of the late queen Elizabeth, intituled An act for punish

ment of such as shall procure or commit any wilful perjury; and the

other made in the second year of his late majesty king George the 2 G. 2. c. 25. second, intituled An act for the more effectual preventing and fur,

ther punishment of forgery, perjury, and subornation of perjury, and to make it felony to steal bonds, notes, or other securities for payment of money; and by any other law or statute now in force for the

punishment of perjury or subornation of perjury. Mortgagor and § 2. No person or persons shall be allowed to have any vote at cestuique trust such elections for coroner or coroners of any county in England

and Wales as aforesaid, for or by reason of any trust estate or mortgagee, unless such trustee or mortgagee be in actual possession or receipt of the rents and profits of such estate; but the mortgagor or cestuique trust in possession shall and may vote for the same estate notwithstanding such mortgage or trust; and all conveyances of any messuages, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, in order to multiply voices, or to split or divide the interest in any houses or lands among several persons, to enable them to vote at elections for a coroner of any county as aforesaid, are hereby de- 58 G. 3. c. 95. clared to be void and of none effect.

to vote.

§ 3. All the reasonable costs, charges, and expenses, the said Expenses of sheriff or his under-sheriff or other deputy shall expend or be liable sheriff' and poll. to in and about the providing of poll-books, booths, and clerks clerks to be paid (such clerks to be paid not exceeding 11. 18. each per diem), for by the candithe purpose of taking the poll at any such election, shall be borne, sustained, and paid by the several candidates at such election, in equal proportions.

Being elected by the county, if he be insufficient, and not able County to anto answer such fines and other duties in respect of his office, as swer for him. he ought, the county, as his superior, shall answer for him. 2 Inst. 175.

And being chosen by the county, his office continues, notwith- Office not void standing the demise of the king. 4 Inst. 271.

by the king's

death. After he is chosen, he shall be sworn by the sheriff, for the due

To be sworn. execution of his office. 2 Hale, 55.

The lord chief justice of the K. B., virtute officii, is the chief Chief justice. coroner of England. 2 Hale, 53.

Coroners by charter, or commission or privilege, were ordinarily Mayor of Lonmade by grant or commission without election : such are the coro- don, bishop of ners of particular lords of liberties and franchises, who by charter Ely, &c. have power to create their own coroners or to be coroners them. selves. Thus the mayor of London is by charter coroner within that city, and the court of the coroner is holden before him or his deputy; the bishop of Ely hath power to make coroners in the isle of Ely by the charter of H. 7. 2 Hale, 53. 4 Inst. 250. Queen Catherine had the hundred of Colridge granted to her by the king, 35 H. 8., with power to nominate coroners.

Ameredith's case, 9 Co. 29 b.

And therefore by stat. 28 Ed. 3. c. 6., where the power of elect- 28 Ed. 3. c. 6. ing coroners is confirmed to the counties, yet there is a saving to Saving of power the king and other lords which ought to make such coroners of their seigniories and franchises. So that the king may grant coroners within certain precincts, and lords of franchises, that have power to nominate coroners by charter, may still do it without election.

Within the admiralty jurisdiction, Lord Hale had not seen the Admiralty grant, but heard that the lord admiral is either made coroner or coroners. hath power to make such within his jurisdiction, and of the death of a man or other articles belonging to the coroner arising upon the high sea, inquisitions have been usually taken by the coroners appointed by the king or his admiral, and here the coroners of the county have no jurisdiction. 2 Hale, 54.

Upon the open sea-shore between high and low water-mark, the jurisdiction of the admiralty and county coroners is alternate: that of the former accruing when the tide is in, that of the latter when it is out. So that if a man, stricken on the high sea, die on the shore on the reflux of the tide, the admiralty coroner has no jurisdiction. Lacie's case, 2 Hale, 17. 20. East, P. C. c.5. $ 131.

Again, where the death was not super altum mare, but occurred by a sailor hanging himself on board a man-of-war in commission, lying within the harbour of Portsmouth, and the liberties of the borough, the court of K. B. granted an information against the

to nominate coroners.

defendant, her captain, for refusing the county coroner and his jury admission into the ship; though the admiralty insisted that they had a coroner of their own, but without shewing that he had previously taken inquisition. The court noticed that, as they did not pretend their coroner ever took inquisitions, so it was contended that none should be taken. And though there have been variety of opinions as to the admiralty jurisdiction, yet it was never carried farther than a pretence to a concurrent jurisdiction. R. v. Solgard, 2 Stra. 1097. Andrews, 231. S. C.; and see 4 Inst. 141. 28 H. 8. c. 15. post, Vol. III. (Criminal Law,) tit. admiralty Court.

The jurisdiction of the admiralty coroner in cases of “ deaths done in great ships hovering in the main streams of great rivers,

below the bridges of the same rivers, nigh to the sea,” under stat. 15 R. 2. c. 3. 15 R. 2. c. 3., is not exclusive of the county coroner's jurisdiction

in rivers where a man can see from one side to the other, 1 Hale, 54.; or at least where a man standing on the one side of the land may see what is done on the other. Haw. b. 2. c. 9. East, P.C.c. 17. $ 10. post, Vol. III. (Criminal Law), tit. admiralty Court. But at least, adds Sir E. H. East, where there is any doubt, the jurisdiction of the common law ought to be preferred. Inquisitions before the admiralty coroner are returned to the commissioners upon stat. 28 H.8. c. 15.; those before the county coroner are returned before the commissioners of gaol delivery for the county. 2 Hale, 5+.

1 & 2 P.& M. c. 13. § 5., post, p. 760. 33 H. 8. c. 12. By stat. 33 H. 8. c. 12., the coroner of the king's house, usually Coroner of the called the coroner of the verge, is appointed by the lord steward verge.

or lord great master of the king's house for the time being, and since stat. Articuli super Cartas, 28 Ed. 1. c. 3., in inquisition to be taken of the death of a man, the coroner of the county shall join with the coroner of the king's house; and if it happen it cannot be determined before the steward, process shall be thereupon had at common law.

But yet in that case of death within the verge, the coroner of the county cannot take an inquisition without the coroner of the verge; and if he doth, it is void: but if one person be coroner of the county and also of the verge, the inquisition before him is as good as if the offices had been in several persons, and taken by both, 2 Hale, 55.; and though the court remove, yet he may proceed upon that inquisition as coroner of the county. Wigg's

case, 4 Rep. 45, 46. Murder or But if a murder or manslaughter be done within the precincts manslaughter in H. M.'s

of the king's palace, limited by stat. 33 H. 8. c. 12., then by that palace.

statute the inquisition shall be taken by the coroner of the house. hold without the adjoining or assisting of any coroner of any county by 12 or more of the yeomen, officers of H. M.'s household. And this shall be as sufficient as if taken also by the coroner of the county, and the method of the return and proceeding upon those inquisitions before the lord steward is therein declared and

enacted. In boroughs. [As to the appointment of coroners in boroughs, see tit.

Corporations. ]

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