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Media guidelines

We are limited in how much information we release on active, ongoing matters.

This is due to the legislation and policies we must comply with, but also because, unlike other courts, the Coroners Court of Victoria actively investigates the matters before it.

We also have regard to friends and families and will not release sensitive information unless it is in the public interest.

What we can provide

You can ask us:

  • if the court is investigating a matter
  • if an inquest has been scheduled and all parties notified
  • if an investigation has been finalised.

If you are enquiring about the status of a case, it helps if you can provide as much information as possible. For instance, any other names the deceased may go by, the place of death or a date range for date of death.

We will provide you with a case number. Please use this for any follow-up questions or request for information.

What we can’t provide

Please understand the court does not:

  • confirm the identity of a person before their family is notified and approves the release
  • comment on aspects of active investigations – including potential timeframes
  • confirm inquests until they are scheduled and all parties have been notified
  • approach the family on your behalf.

Coroners do not generally speak to media, and will not comment about individual cases and findings.

Interview and information requests

The State Coroner may consider interview requests regarding general coronial processes and issues of public health and safety.

We endeavour to help authors, documentary makers and students with information requests. However, priority is given to enquiries from media organisations.

Journalists attending court

If you are attending court, please sign in at the front desk. You will be asked to wear a lanyard to identify you as media so you can legitimately use your laptop, mobile or tablet in court.

You will be expected to follow court etiquette. Please also be respectful of the family and friends in the courtroom.

Mobile devices

You may use your laptop or mobile device to take notes, or send messages or emails while in the courtroom. However, there are restrictions.

Place all devices on silent and leave the courtroom to answer any calls.

Do not use them to record audio or take photographs of witnesses or documents, even if you’re not planning to publish them.

Online coverage from court

You may use your devices to publish material on the internet and social media (blogging or tweeting) during proceedings.

If the presiding coroner prohibits mobile devices or live coverage in his or her court, they will specify this in open court and a notice will be placed outside the courtroom.

Recording and photography

If you would like to record or take photographs inside the courtroom or the court building, please email us in advance.

This is generally only permitted by pool arrangement and during the opening summary or the handing down of findings, and is determined by the presiding coroner.

Email mediaenquiries@coronerscourt.vic.gov.au for images of the coroners. Do not photograph or film coroners entering or leaving the court.

Requesting tendered coronial documents

You may request coronial documents once they have been tendered. You must have been in court at the time the exhibit was tendered.

For all information and document requests, please fill in and submit Form 45: Application for access to coronial documents or inquest transcript. These are available at the front desk and by contacting the Court.

Requests may only be processed at the end of the day and sometimes during lunch breaks.

The coroner will decide if they are suitable for release.

Some documents do not require a form. We can provide opening or closing statements from an inquest without a Form 45.

Referring to coroners

Refer to coroners as ‘Coroner (surname)’, and alternatively ‘His Honour/Her Honour’.

Refer to the state coroner in the first instance as ‘State Coroner Judge (full name)’ and then ‘His Honour Judge (surname)/Her Honour Judge (surname)’.

Non-publication orders

Occasionally a coroner will make a non-publication order on details relating to an inquest or investigation. In covering court, the onus is on you to make sure you do not breach a current non-publication order. Find a list of non-publication orders on our orders and rulings page.

Last updated on 18 Dec 2018