At the weekend an unelected official made a naked grab for more powers. Chief coroner Neil Maclean made a push to make it mandatory for agencies to respond to coroners' recommendations.
Coroners are frustrated their findings are being ignored. Often they talk a lot of sense. Maclean pointed to observations made on ''huffing'' or the absence of roll bars on quad bikes.
But dissatisfaction from this branch of the judiciary isn't new. A 2000 Law Commission report revealed they felt ''largely unappreciated'' and '' inadequately remunerated''. The report led to a complete overhaul of the system in 2006.
This included the establishment of the chief coroner role - Maclean is the first. The watchdog suggested this appointment be proactive in taking recommendations to government departments, responsible for inquiring as to their implementation and reasons why they might have been postponed or rejected.
Progress on this should be included in an annual report. Maclean doesn't appear to produce an annual report.
The Law Commission report also suggested a national database. Maclean says his office is ''taking some steps'' to collate a summary of recommendations.
He accuses government agencies of ''buck passing'' and says coroners ''would like to see more happening.'' More could happen within his own office.
It's the job of coroners to publicise lessons learnt from deaths. Doing this effectively will bring the necessary pressure on those who fail to act.
In New Zealand the only evidence which exists that deaths could have been prevented if coroners were listened to is anecdotal.
Coronial services are about to embark on a two-year study of a major overhaul of the system six years ago. It will examine if mandatory regimes in the UK and Australia would be effective here.
Until the research is complete, coroners should keep their ambitions in check.
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