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Fire Investigation Process
Coroners can investigate certain fires, even when the fire did not result in the death of a person.
The court has established a number of processes that allow different areas of the court and those organisations who provide services to the court, to work together to investigate appropriately throughout the various stages of the coroner's inquiry.
These processes and the various stages of a coroner's investigation into a fire are outlined in the flowchart below.
Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board or an individual requests a coroner to investigate
Coroner decides not to investigate
The coroner provides written reasons to the person or organisation making the request
Coroner decides to investigate
A coroner must investigate a fire upon receiving a request from the Country Fire Authority or Metropolitan Fire and Emergencies Services Board, unless the coroner determines that an investigation is not in the public interest.
Case is subject to police investigation and/or criminal prosecution. Coronial investigation suspended until completion of the criminal process.
Registry carries out directions of the coroner in relation to the investigation such as requesting a Victoria Police member to compile a brief of evidence which may include reports, statements and information about the fire. The person or organisation requesting the investigation must give any information required by the coroner.
Coronial brief of evidence compiled by Victoria Police
Coroner decides whether to hold an inquest
A directions hearing is sometimes held
A coroner decides not to hold an inquest
Coroner makes Findings with recommendations where appropriate.
Findings with recommendations published in the court website unless otherwise ordered.
A directions hearing prior to the inquest is sometimes held
An inquest is a public court hearing
Coroner makes Findings with recommendations where appropriate
Findings published on the court website unless otherwise ordered.