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The Coroners Court of Victoria investigates certain deaths and fires to find out their cause. Not all investigations will result in an inquest.
An inquest is a court hearing into a single death, multiple deaths and/or a fire. It is heard by a coroner and is generally open to the public.
An inquest is unlike other court cases. It is an inquisitorial process rather than adversarial. In other words, an inquest is not a trial, with a prosecutor and a defendant, but an inquiry led by a coroner that seeks to find out why the death or fire occurred.
Coroners have more flexibility than other jurisdictions with the type of evidence they can accept. They cannot attribute blame.
The coroner's role is to identify the person who has died and to find out how their death occurred including the cause and circumstances.
After the coroner has heard all the evidence, he or she will write a finding. A finding may include recommendations to a Minister, public statutory authority or entity to help prevent similar deaths or fires.