The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor are pleased to announce the appointment of two Deputy Chief Coroners, who are Derek Winter, Senior Coroner for the Sunderland coroner area and HHJ Alexia Durran.
The post is to be completed alongside their current appointments with immediate effect.
Derek Winter was appointed as the Senior Coroner for Sunderland in 2003 and has conducted a wide range of cases in the 15 years he has spent as a coroner as well as modernising the Sunderland coroner service. He qualified as a solicitor in 1983 and began by specialising in family law. He sat as a Deputy District Judge from 1994 to 1999.
HHJ Alexia Durran was called to the Bar in 1995. She practised in criminal law. She was appointed as a Recorder in 2009 and as Circuit Judge in 2014. She currently sits at Guildford Crown Court and is ticketed to try murder cases. She was also appointed as a Tribunal Judge (sitting on mental health cases) in 2017.
The Deputy Chief Coroner role:
Deputy Chief Coroners support the role of the Chief Coroner in his wide range of duties and provide adequate cover during periods of annual leave or other absence. This may include providing resilience in responding to any mass fatality incidents (in which the Chief Coroner has a national coordinating role). Along with the role of Chief Coroner, the post of Deputy Chief Coroner was created by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and this is the first time appointments to the role have been made since the introduction of the Act in 2013.
The Chief Coroner of England and Wales is HHJ Mark Lucraft QC, a Senior Circuit Judge.
More information about the role of Chief Coroner can be found online.
Section 35 and schedule 8 Coroners and Justice Act 2009 allows for the appointment of Deputy Chief Coroners who must be either senior coroners or eligible judges (Circuit judges or judges of the High Court). The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor make the appointments according to whether the appointee is respective a judge or a senior coroner.