Institute of Health Research – Lunchtime Seminar

In response to widespread concerns about the accuracy of suicide statistics, this presentation will focus on the standard of proof used in coroners’ investigations of death by suicide.

Wednesday 7th December 2016

1.00 – 2.00pm

Baring Court (BC) 112, St Luke’s Campus, Exeter

Professor Belinda Carpenter

Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Coronial practice and suicide rates: Beyond reasonable doubt?

The seminar presents recent research into the ways in which coroners reach their verdicts, based on in-depth interviews with over 40 coroners, both in Australia and England. The results reveal a high degree of inconsistency within the various processes of suicide determination. They touch on issues of capacity and intent, different cultural understandings of suicide, and practical and philosophical difficulties with the construction of this category of death itself. It suggests that, among other issues, the necessary standard of proof and the wide range of ways in which it is interpreted—mostly very conservative—has a significant role to play in the ongoing coronial-authored underestimation of suicide. Professor Carpenter has been conducting research into coroners’ decision making processes for more than 10 years and has written extensively on the subject, focusing also on the coroner’s role vis-à-vis the grieving family and the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence. Her other research interests include sex trafficking and prostitution. For further information please contact Dr Christabel Owens Or download the seminar flyer as a PDF. Parking at St Lukes is extremely limited and is restricted to University of Exeter permit holders. Parking attendants patrol regularly. Where possible, please consider alternative transport options when planning your visit.