The Senior Coroner for Leeds and Wakefield, David Hinchliff, has announced that he will be retiring from his post next year.
Mr Hinchliff will retire in March 2018 after 24 years as the Coroner for Leeds and Wakefield. Prior to this he was a solicitor, first becoming a Coroner in 1987.
During his 30 year career as a Coroner, Mr Hinchliff has dealt with over 100,000 reported deaths and 12,000 inquests.
He said: “I have had a long, interesting and satisfying career, which at times has been challenging and demanding. No two days are the same but it has been a privilege to be able to help the families of those who have died to have an understanding of the circumstances of the death. In the majority of cases it can help people get some sort of closure.
“The job has changed considerably since I became a Coroner, and families, rightly, no longer accept without reservation what the medical profession tells them. I will be sad to leave the service but I believe the time is now right to hand the service over.”
Mr Hinchliff has been planning his retirement for some time and, with the support of Wakefield Council, has made a number of changes in recent years to allow this to happen with minimal disruption to the service and public.
Michael Clements, Wakefield Council’s Assistant Chief Executive for Resources and Governance, said: “Mr Hinchliff has provided an invaluable service for thousands of families across the region, supporting them to gain answers when they need them the most.
“During his career he has successfully overseen the implementation of the Coroners and Justice Act in 2013 and the move to one court base in Wakefield.
“We will be working closely with Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police to ensure that another successful Senior Coroner is appointed to carry on the important service that Mr Hinchliff has provided across Leeds and the Wakefield district.”
The Senior Coroner for Wakefield and Leeds is appointed by Wakefield Council, working in partnership with Leeds City Council who jointly funds the post.
It is the Coroner’s duty to investigate deaths that have been reported to them if they have reason to think that the death was violent or unnatural, the cause of death is unknown or that no doctor is able to provide a death certificate. The Coroner will establish whether an enquiry is needed into a death, and if so, will fully investigate the identity of the person and how and when they died.
Wakefield Council will lead on the specialist recruitment process, which is expected to start later this spring. The post will be widely advertised, however, only Solicitors or Barristers or Fellows of CILEX with five years post-qualification experience can apply.