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Coroners Court Workshop




Law Society of Tasmania

CPD Points



Law Society of Tasmania

28 Murray Street Hobart, TAS

Staffordshire House (videolink)

56 Charles Street Launceston, TAS

Rae & Partners (videolink)

13 Fenton Street Devonport, TAS

McLean McKenzie & Topfer (videolink)

41 Cattley Street Burnie, TAS

Coroners Court Workshop


This workshop is aimed at providing practitioners of all levels of legal career experience with an overview plus a more in-depth look at the workings of a Coronial Court and coronial matters. 

CPD Guide: 3 (SL, PS)


The Coroners Court
This division of the Magistrates Court in Tasmania is a specialist court that conducts inquests and investigations into certain deaths ('reportable deaths') and incidents (including fires and explosions) regardless of whether a death occurred.
The coroner may comment and make recommendations about public health or safety, or the administration of justice, to help prevent similar deaths and incidents from happening again.

The coroner must find, if possible:

  • the identity of the deceased person;
  • how the death occurred;
  • the cause of death;
  • when and where death occurred;
  • the details needed to register the death with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.


Proposed program:

1 pm - Welcome and Introduction

  • The Role of the Coroner: An Overview

  • Forensic Pathology

  • The Inquest: The view from the Bench

3 pm - Afternoon Tea

  • The Inquest: The view from the Bar table

  • Medical Matters in the Coronial Sphere

  • Question and Discussion time

5 pm - Close


Presenters will include:

  • Coroner Olivia McTaggart

  • Coroner Simon Cooper

  • Coroner Rod Chandler

  • Dr Christopher Lawrence, State Forensic Pathologist

  • Mr Simon Nicholson, Senior Crown Prosecutor 


Presenter Bios 

Coroner Olivia McTaggart

Olivia McTaggart was appointed as a magistrate and coroner in February 2005. Prior to this appointment she was an experienced civil and criminal lawyer in private practice and then at the Independent Bar.  In 2013 she was delegated as the Chief Coroner, taking up full time coronial duties.


Coroner Simon Cooper

Simon Cooper was admitted to practice in 1987. He has been a magistrate since 2013 and specialises in coronial matters.


Coroner Rod Chandler

Rod Chandler has been a coroner since 2006. The focus of his current coronial work is deaths occurring in a medical setting. He has previously been a Commissioner of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal and a member of the Motor Accidents Compensation Tribunal and the Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal. 


Dr Christopher Lawrence

Dr Christopher Lawrence is the State Forensic Pathologist and Director of Statewide Forensic Medical Services for Tasmania.  He has been working in that role since 2002, having previously worked as a Forensic Pathologist in New South Wales for 13 years. The role includes medical investigation, including autopsies of deaths reported to the Coroner (approximately 500 per year), associated investigations such as toxicology, molecular biology and histology, provision of expert teaching and training in Forensic Pathology and provision of expert advice to the Coroner, courts, the Director of Public Prosecutions, police, hospitals and other agencies at state, national and international levels.


Mr Simon Nicholson

Simon Nicholson has worked at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Office of the DPP) since 2008 and is currently a Senior Crown Prosecutor specialising in Magistrate Court work and the co-ordination and conduct of notice to review – or Lower Court Appeal – hearings on behalf of the State as applicant or respondent. Prior to joining the Office of the DDP, Simon spent some time at the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania and Department of Police and Emergency Management.



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