- Commenced on 31 August 1935
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2000.]
- [Note: The version of the Act as at 31 December 2000 was revised and consolidated by the Law Reform Commission of Uganda. All subsequent amendments have been researched and applied by Laws.Africa for ULII.]
Part I – General
1. InterpretationIn this Act—
2. Who may hold inquests
3. Inquest book
4. When inquest to be held
5. Power to order exhumation
6. Inquest to be held by coroner of place where body lyingThe coroner only within whose jurisdiction the body of any person, upon whose death an inquest ought to be held, is lying shall hold the inquest, notwithstanding that the cause of death arose elsewhere; and if any body is found in any river, creek or navigable canal, or in any inland waters, the inquest shall be held by the coroner within whose jurisdiction the body is first brought to land; except that where it appears to a coroner by whom an inquest has been commenced that, owing to special circumstances to be entered upon the record of the inquest, it is expedient for the inquest to be continued by another coroner, he or she shall, after viewing the body (if such view is necessary in accordance with section 14 and making such entry upon the record as is required to be made under section 14(5), refer the record to that other coroner; and that other coroner shall thereupon, subject to any directions in that behalf which may be given by the High Court, and which the High Court is hereby empowered to give, continue the inquest and conclude it in accordance with this Act.
7. Inquest where body destroyed or irrecoverableWhen a coroner has reason to believe that a death has occurred in the area within which he or she has jurisdiction in such circumstances that an inquest ought to be held, and that owing to the destruction of the body by fire or otherwise or to the fact that the body is lying in a place from which it cannot be recovered, an inquest cannot be held except by virtue of the provisions of this section, he or she may, if he or she considers it desirable so to do, hold an inquest touching the death, and the law relating to inquests shall apply with such modifications as may be necessary in consequence of the inquest being held otherwise than on or after a view of a body lying within the coroner’s jurisdiction.
8. Coroner may postpone burial or cremation until after inquestA coroner may prohibit the burial or cremation of any body lying within his or her jurisdiction until an inquest shall have been held.
9. Notice of death
10. Duty of police officer
Part II – Post-mortem examination
11. Coroner may direct examinationIf any coroner considers it necessary, with a view to investigating the circumstances of the death of any person, to obtain a medical report on the appearance of the body of that person, and as to the conclusions to be drawn from that appearance, he or she may, by written direction in Form C set out in the Schedule to this Act, require any government medical officer or, in the absence of such officer, any other medical practitioner within his or her jurisdiction to make an examination of the body and to report on it.
12. Medical practitioner to make examination and report
Part III – Procedure at inquest
13. Inquiries to be made by coronerAt every inquest the coroner shall take on oath all such evidence as is procurable as to the identity of the deceased and the time, place and manner of his or her death.
14. Provisions regarding the viewing of body
15. Coroner may summon witnesses
16. Coroner not bound by Evidence ActA coroner, in any inquest held by him or her, shall not be bound by anything contained in the Evidence Act except sections 122 to 131 of that Act.
17. Recording of evidence
18. Power to take evidence of witness unable to attend
19. Inquest on Sunday, etc. or in private
20. Adjournment of inquestA coroner holding an inquest in any place may adjourn the inquest to another day and may order the adjourned inquest to be held in the same or any other place.
21. Staying of inquest and its resumption
22. Issue of summons or warrantIf, during the course or at the close of any inquest, the coroner is of opinion that sufficient grounds are disclosed for making a charge against any person in connection with the death, he or she may issue a summons or warrant to secure the attendance of that person before any magistrate’s court having jurisdiction, and may bind over any witness who has been examined by or before him or her on a recognisance with or without surety to appear and give evidence before that court.
24. Where guilty party unknownIf, at the close of any inquest, the coroner is of opinion that there is ground for suspecting that some person is guilty of an offence in respect of the matter inquired into, but cannot ascertain who that person is, he or she shall certify his or her opinion to that effect and transmit a copy of the proceedings to the Inspector General of Police.
25. Where guilty party cannot be foundWhere the proceedings upon any inquest have been transmitted to the Inspector General of Police under section 24 and the guilty person remains undiscovered, and if, in the opinion of the Inspector General of Police, there is no probability that that person will be discovered, he or she shall certify his or her opinion to that effect and transmit the copy of the proceedings to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
26. Return of findingsEvery finding, including the depositions and the recognisances of the witnesses, if any, shall be transmitted by the coroner, with all convenient dispatch, to the High Court; and the registrar of the High Court shall take charge of the proceedings.
27. Powers of High CourtWhere the High Court, upon application made by or under the authority of the Director of Public Prosecutions, or in any other manner, is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice to do so, it may—
Part IV – Miscellaneous
28. Burying or cremating without authority
29. Obstructing medical officer, etc.Any person who obstructs a medical practitioner, police officer or chief in the execution of any duty imposed upon him or her by this Act commits an offence.
30. PenaltyAny person who commits an offence against this Act is liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred shillings.
31. Power to make rulesThe Minister may make rules prescribing the scale of fees to be paid by the Secretary to the Treasury to medical practitioners for any examination, autopsy or other service required of them under this Act.
32. Expenses to witnessesA coroner may order payment on the part of the Government of the reasonable expenses of any witness summoned under this Act to attend an inquest.
History of this document
31 December 2000 this version
31 August 1935