When coroners care too much: Therapeutic jurisprudence and suicide findings

Carpenter, Belinda, Tait, Gordon, Stobbs, Nigel, & Barnes, Michael (2015) When coroners care too much: Therapeutic jurisprudence and suicide findings. Journal of Judicial Administration, 24(3), pp. 172-183.

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Abstract

In common law countries such as England and Australia, violent and otherwise unnatural deaths are investigated by coroners who make findings as to the “manner of death”. This includes determining whether the deceased person intentionally caused their own death. Previous research (Tait and Carpenter 2013a, 2013b, 2014) has suggested that coroners are reluctant to reach such determinations, citing the stigma of suicide and a need for sensitivity to grieving and traumatized families. Based on interviews with both English and Australian coroners, this paper explores whether an ‘ethic of care’ evident in English and Australian coronial suicide determinations, can be understood as an application of the ‘practices and techniques’ of therapeutic jurisprudence. Based on the ways in which coroners position the law as a potential therapeutic agent, we investigate how they understand their role and position as legal actors, and the effects of their decision making in the context of suspected suicides.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 83497
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: suicide statistics, coroners, therapeutic jurisprudence
ISSN: 1036-7918
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Courts and Sentencing (160203)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters (Australia)
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2015 05:47
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2015 08:07

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