How well do Regulation 28 reports serve future public health and safety?

Med Sci Law. 2021 Jul;61(3):186-192. doi: 10.1177/0025802420987431. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


Her Majesty's (H.M.) coroners issue Regulation 28 (Reg. 28) reports following inquests. These reports concern hazards which, if mitigated, might prevent future deaths, and have addressees who are best placed to take remedial actions. Since 2013, the reports and addressees' responses are copied to, and electronically published by, the Chief Coroner in non-exclusive demographic, aetiological or venue categories. Three of those categories were chosen so as to minimise the replication of unique cases - child deaths; alcohol, drugs and medications (ADM); and railways - with the most recent 50 reports in each category. A further ad hoc sample of neonates was taken after a finding in the first of these. The principal findings are: (a) H.M. coroners generate Reg. 28 reports at different rates (including 27 coroner areas with none at all; random variation probability p ≈ 10-6); (b) there is a large deficit of addressees' responses compared with Reg. 28 reports that are issued; (c) addressees from large organisations are more likely to respond than small ones; (d) substantive remedial actions appear in only a further subset of addressees' responses; and (e) there is a sex imbalance in Reg. 28 reports which is least explicable for neonates. It is concluded that the Reg. 28 report system is haphazard in many ways. As the only official publication from H.M. coroners' courts, Reg. 28 reports have a large scope for improvement, which might promote support from bereaved families and the wider public for the process of inquest. Suggestions for process improvement are made.

Keywords: H.M. coroner; Regulation 28 report; decision making; public health and safety.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Coroners and Medical Examiners / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • England
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Research Report / standards
  • Wales