Coroners and Justice Act 2009
The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (c. 25) is an Act
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 of the Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. It changed the law on coroner
A coroner is a government official who* Investigates human deaths* Determines cause of death* Issues death certificates* Maintains death records* Responds to deaths in mass disasters* Identifies unknown dead* Other functions depending on local laws...

s and criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

 in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...


Among its provisions are:
  • preventing criminals from profiting from publications about their crimes
  • abolishing the anachronistic offences of sedition
    In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority. Sedition may include any...

     and seditious
    Seditious libel
    Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

    , defamatory
    Defamatory libel
    Defamatory libel was originally an offence under the common law of England. It has been abolished in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. It was or is a form of criminal libel, a term with which it is synonymous.-England and Wales and Northern Ireland:...

     and obscene libel
    Obscene libel
    The publication of an obscene libel was an offence under the common law of England. Prior to the abolition by of the Criminal Law Act 1967 of the distinction between felony and misdemeanour, it was regarded as a misdemeanour...

  • re-enacting the provisions of the emergency Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008
    Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008
    The Criminal Evidence Act 2008 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was a piece of emergency legislation and was introduced by the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, in order to overturn the judgement of the House of Lords in R v Davis and permit the use of anonymous...

     so that the courts may continue to grant anonymity to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses where this is consistent with a defendant's right to a fair trial
  • criminalising possession of pornographic non-photographic images depicting under-18s, and of adults where the "predominant impression conveyed" is of a person under the age of 18.
  • criminalising the holding of someone in slavery or servitude, or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • provision for the abolition of the office of Coroner of the Queen's Household
    Coroner of the Queen's Household
    The Coroner of the King's/Queen's Household is an officer of the Medical Household of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.-History:...


The Act makes it illegal to own any picture depicting under-18s participating in sexual activities, or depictions of sexual activity in the presence of someone under 18. The law has been condemned by a coalition of graphic artists, publishers and MPs, fearing it will criminalise graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

s such as Lost Girls
Lost Girls
Lost Girls is a graphic novel depicting the sexually explicit adventures of three important female fictional characters of the late 19th and early 20th century: Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz and Wendy Darling from Peter Pan...

and Watchmen
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form...

. These sections came into effect on 6 April 2010.

The Act contains measures to reform the coroner system. According to the Institute of Legal Executives
Institute of Legal Executives
The Institute of Legal Executives is the professional body for legal executives in England and Wales and an examination board providing qualifications for legal executives, paralegals and legal secretaries.-History:...

, "There is provision, carefully circumscribed, for the establishment of a judicial inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act
Inquiries Act 2005
The Inquiries Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. According to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Act "is designed to provide a framework under which future inquiries, set up by Ministers into events that have caused or have potential to cause public concern,...

 to take the place of an inquest, where there is highly sensitive evidence (typically intercept) and it would not be possible to have an Article 2 compliant inquest. These provisions will be used in rare cases only."

The most controversial aspect of the bill are the provisions regarding secret inquests. The provisions had previously been mulled as part of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, though ultimately they were dropped before the Counter-Terrorism Bill was finalised. Last-minute concessions, as the Coroners and Justice Bill passed through Parliament, included giving the Lord Chief Justice the power to veto any requests for private inquests and also the power to decide who the judge is.

Hate crimes reform

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which makes significant changes in many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland...

 amended Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986
Public Order Act 1986
The Public Order Act 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of public order offences. They replace similar common law offences and parts of the Public Order Act 1936...

 to extend hate crime legislation to cover "hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to sexual orientation
Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality,...

 (whether towards persons of the same sex, the opposite sex or both)."

To prevent that Act being used to inhibit freedom of speech on the subject of homosexuality, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act also inserted a new section 29JA, entitled "Protection of freedom of expression (sexual orientation)" but sometimes known as the Waddington Amendment (after Lord Waddington
David Waddington, Baron Waddington
David Charles Waddington, Baron Waddington, GCVO, DL, QC, PC , is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons from 1968 to 1990, and was then made a life peer...

 who introduced it). It reads:
During debate on the Coroners and Justice Bill the Government unsuccessfully attempted to repeal section 29JA. Clause 61 (which would have repealed section 29JA) was introduced into Parliament by Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

 on 14 January 2009. The clause was voted down by the House of Lords, reinstated by the House of Commons, and voted down again by the Lords before the Commons finally conceded that section 29JA could remain.

External links

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