Duration of death investigations that proceed to inquest in Australia

Professor David Studdert & others have published an article in the journal Injury Prevention entitled Duration of death investigations that proceed to inquest in Australia.

The authors analysed some 5000 inquest cases closed between 2007 and 2013—nearly all of the inquests closed in Australia over this 7-year period. They note that nearly a quarter of inquests in Australia run for more than 3 years, but with dramatic variation by jurisdiction and case characteristics.

ABC News reported the study as showing that  inquests took an average of 19 months to complete nationally. However 87 per cent of South Australian inquests remained open after two years compared with 26 per cent in New South Wales and 21 per cent in the Northern Territory.

The Guardian quoted Professor Studdert as saying that this was the first Australian study to examine cases that took especially long to close, which was important given delays in inquests could undermine the reliability of witness testimony and prolong public exposure to preventable risks.



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