ETYM From Old Eng. coronen to crown, Old Fren. coroner, from Latin coronare, from corona crown. Formed as a translation of Late Lat. coronator coroner, from Latin corona crown, the coroner having been originally a prosecuting officer of the crown. Related to Crown.
A public official who investigates by inquest any death not due to natural causes; SYN. medical examiner.
Official who investigates the deaths of persons who have died suddenly by acts of violence or under suspicious circumstances, by holding an inquest or ordering a postmortem examination (autopsy).
Coroners may also inquire into instances of treasure trove. The coroner's court aims not to establish liability but to find out how, where, and why the death occurred. A coroner must be a barrister, solicitor, or medical practitioner with at least five years' professional service. In Scotland similar duties are performed by the procurator fiscal. In the US coroners are usually elected by the voters of the county. Coroner's courts have been criticized as autocratic since the coroner alone decides which witnesses should be called and legal aid is not available for representation in a coroner's court. Nor may any of the parties make a closing speech to the jury.