Monday, May 23, 2011

New Zealand Law Commission Paper on Death and Cremation Certification

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published an Issues Paper entitled Final Words: Death and Cremation certification in New Zealand:
"The terms of reference for this review are wide ranging and require us to consider issues such as whether the act in its current form is meeting New Zealanders’ needs with respect to the custody, care and final disposition of the dead; whether local authorities should continue to have primary responsibility for the provision of cemeteries; and whether the current system of self-regulation of funeral directors should be continued or an alternative system of regulation considered."

"Alongside these issues the review also requires us to examine the “adequacy and efficiency” of the current laws and regulations relating to death and cremation certification. The provisions relating to the certification of death were transferred from the Births, Deaths, Marriages and relationships registration act 1995 to the Burial and Cremation Act in 2009. Because the issues relating to certification form a specialised and discrete part of the wider review, the Commission has produced this separate Issues Paper focused on certification."

"Doctors involved in certifying deaths play a vital role as gatekeepers to the coronial system and so this review provides an important opportunity to review the interface between the new coronial system (the Coroners Act 2006) and the pre-existing death and cremation certification systems."

"This discussion paper forms part of the Law Commission’s preliminary consultation process and does not predetermine the direction we may take in our final report and recommendations to government. rather, it is intended to help focus discussion and inform our research in this critical area (...)"

"Death and cremation certification is a notoriously difficult area in which to reach consensus, in part because the system serves a number of sometimes conflicting policy objectives. Those dealing with death as investigators, pathologists, coroners, doctors, health workers, care-givers or funeral directors are often working in highly charged situations. The knock-on effects of even quite minor changes within the systems and processes regulating death have the potential to cause major disruptions."
The paper also looks at the legal situation in other jurisdictions such as England and Wales

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:29 pm


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