Non-publication orders

Coroner may prohibit making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings

If satisfied that it is in the interests of justice, decency, public order, or personal privacy to do so, a coroner may prohibit the making public of—

(a) any evidence given or submissions made at or for the purposes of any part of the proceedings of an inquiry (for example, at an inquest); and

(b) the name, and any name or particulars likely to lead to the identification, of any witness or witnesses.

Section 74 of the Coroners Act 2006 allows a Coroner to prohibit making public evidence given during a coronial inquiry.

Evidence that can be subject to a section 74 (non-publication) order includes:

  • photographs of the deceased
  • names of witnesses, or any details that could lead to identifying them
  • details from an inquiry that may place a person at risk of suffering real and significant physical or psychological harm.

To make something public means:

  • publishing it in a newspaper, a book, journal or similar document
  • broadcasting it on television or radio
  • publishing it online or releasing an audio or visual recording.

If you're applying for a non-publication order, please note you'll need to have strong grounds for applying as these orders are issued in very limited circumstances.

The norm is for proceedings to be public, and for media to be able to publish evidence provided during inquiries.

In order to grant a non-publication order, a Coroner must be satisfied that one or more of the grounds listed below is met:

  • Interests of justice
  • Decency
  • Public order
  • Personal privacy

When submitting an application for a non-publication order, you must include written statements of fact that support your reasons for applying (affidavit evidence).

Examples of written statements of fact include:

  • reports from a specialist medical professional with intimate relevant knowledge of those involved
  • evidence of any relevant employment matters.

Your application must clearly state on what grounds you're applying for a non-publication order.

Your application will be shared with anyone who wishes to oppose it, in order to give them an opportunity to respond. This includes media organisations.

Once an application and any responses are received, the Coroner then determines if there are grounds for a non-publication order and informs all parties of the result.