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The influence of the coroner's inquisition on the common law and the medico legal system.

McHugh, MP; (1976) The influence of the coroner's inquisition on the common law and the medico legal system. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Inquisitions held by various authoritative bodies from the Crown in the eleventh century to the Board of Trade or the local Borough Council in the twentieth, have existed for many and different reasons. In contemporary society any commission of inquiry can be termed an inquisition, whether its purpose is a retrospective assessment or a prospective modification of established policy. The inquisitorial theory is the searching out and correcting of error on the basis that there is safety in the truth. As a legal principle it is the demarcation line between the ancient prophetic laws of the oracles and the scientific legal systems of modern civilisations. William the Conqueror introduced the "Inquisitio" into England as one of the measures of facilitating the integration of local administration with the centralisation of Royal Justice. Initially, its main function was of a fiscal and political nature but the institution was not allowed to suffer the corruption and misuse of its process, as was its continental counterpart following the Lateran and Toulouse Councils in the thirteenth century. Given expression in the Coroner's inquest it was used mýin1y in the investigation of unnatural death or c-m y matter ordered by the King's writ. From the onset it acquired a significant role in the developing common law when inquisition records were used by the Justices in Eyre for the conducting their business. The Coroner's inquiry exists in all parts of the world where the common law took root, but its purpose has changed; although on occasion an inquest may bring to light a secret homicide or contribute to the preferment of a criminal charge; its duty is to provide a forensic forum for the sifting of medical, legal and scientific issues in the prevention of untimely death and the promotion of a better quality of life.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The influence of the coroner's inquisition on the common law and the medico legal system.
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS. Some images and the original pages 411 to 442 have been excluded due to third party copyright.
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws

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