Ireland: Bill For Mandatory Reporting Of Maternal And Perinatal Deaths Passed

Last Updated: 24 July 2019
Article by Richard O'Brien and Sharon Burke

The long awaited Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2018 (hereinafter known as "the Bill") was passed by Oireachtas (Final Stage) on 3 July 2019. The Bill aims to modernise and significantly clarify and strengthen the law relating to the reporting of deaths by introducing a number of key legislative changes to the Coroners Act 1962 as a result of public unease regarding high profile cases.

Schedule of Deaths reportable to the Coroner

Prior to the Bill, only certain deaths were required to be immediately reported to the Coroner. The Bill now sets out a detailed schedule provides clarity on reportable deaths, although not every reported death will result in a post mortem examination or inquest taking place. The Bill contains express requirements for mandatory reporting of:

  • Any death by suicide or assisted suicide;
  • Any maternal death or late maternal death;
  • In the case of an infant death, any death caused wholly or partially by maternal drug addiction;
  • Any death of a stillborn child, death intrapartum or infant death;
  • Any death where deceased person is unidentified;
  • A death caused wholly or partially by a cut or contusion;
  • Any death caused wholly or partially by an incident occurring on a railway or arising on a train, aircraft, ship or other vessel;
  • Any death caused wholly or partially by a notifiable disease, adverse reaction to any drug, infection caused by previously contaminated blood product, or due to a prion disease;
  • Any death occurring in an institution for the care and treatment of persons with a physical or mental disability.

Duty to Hold an Inquest

The Coroner is currently obliged to hold an inquest where he or she is of the opinion that the death may have occurred in a violent or unnatural manner, or "suddenly and from unknown causes", the Bill now amends that to read deaths "unexpected and from unknown causes".

This results in a standardised approach to inquests if the deceased was in State custody or detention; or in circumstances where the death is a maternal death or late maternal death. Maternal death is defined in the Bill as a

"death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management...". 

Late maternal death is defined as a

"death occurring more than 42 days and less than 365 days after the end of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management...".;

This will lead to increased transparency about the incidence and causes of all maternal deaths and all deaths in state custody as a matter of standard practice, and will ensure timely provision of information to bereaved families.

Mandatory Reporting Obligations

Part IIA of the Bill sets out comprehensively the various persons who are under a duty to report a mandatory reportable death to the Coroner. This is a non-exhaustive list which includes medical practitioners, nurses and paramedics treating the deceased before death. If the reportable death concerned is that of a stillborn child or a death intrapartum, it includes any medical practitioner, nurse or midwife who had responsibility for, or involvement in the treatment of care of the woman concerned in the period immediately before or after the delivery of the stillborn child, or who was present at the delivery.

Undertakers and occupiers of a house or dwelling where the deceased was residing at the time of their death are also included, unless reported to An Garda Síochána. The section also updates the penalties for failing to report a reportable death.

Other notable provisions under the Bill
The Coroner can direct the production of records from the head of hospital, doctor or pathologist involved and from a nurse, midwife, paramedic or advanced paramedic. This will ensure situations such as home births or alternative medical practitioners are covered. If a recipient refuses or fails to comply, the Coroner may apply to the High Court, which can order the recipient to comply.

The Coroner can enter any premises to inspect, copy, take extracts from or seize documents and to compel witnesses to attend or answer questions at an inquest. 

The Coroner can apply to the High Court for directions on a point of law regarding the performance of his or her functions under the Act. Coroners currently rely on judicial review proceedings, and this will provide a legal avenue for determining difficult questions of law.

The Coroner can seek and obtain advice or assistance from an expert in respect of a matter for the purposes of his or her inquiry.

Passage of the Bill

The Bill is currently being presented to the President for signature. It is expected to be signed into law this week.

The Bill's greater clarity will be welcomed by the Public, Health Professionals and Providers and Legal Practitioners.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions