Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush has welcomed the intervention of the Chief Coroner of England and Wales Judge Mark Lucraft into the actions of Mary Hassell, the controversial Senior Coroner for Inner North London.
Judge Lucraft described Ms Hassell’s actions as, “discriminatory”, in breach of the Human Rights Act and unlawful.
Jonathan said: “The Chief Coroner’s submission to the court is nothing short of damning to Coroner Mary Hassell. He considers that her so-called ‘cab-rank’ principle ’over-rigid,’ ‘irrational’ and ‘unlawful’. He advocates a different approach that recognises a family’s strong and sincere desire for a body to be released quickly, and says this is no more and no less than good sense and good humanity.
“The Chief Coroner is therefore implying, if not saying outright, that Coroner Hassell’s policy lacks good sense and is inhumane.
“The Chief Coroner has given clear support to the legal proceedings brought by the AYBS against Coroner Hassell and I welcome it. When families come from a Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other background and seek the release of a loved one’s body for burial as soon as reasonably possible, they are entitled to be treated with common decency and humanity in their hour of distress. Coroner Hassell’s approach fails badly on both counts. She has lost the confidence of the communities she serves and the Chief Coroner’s condemnation of her is very telling indeed. It is bound to carry very great weight with the court that is shortly due to hear the legal proceedings.”