Guidance No.3 Oaths and Robes

Chief CoronerCoroners' CourtPractice Guidance

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Oaths and affirmations


  1. Coroners are independent judicial office holders and must therefore take the judicial oath or affirmation on taking office. The form of the judicial oath in English and Welsh is set out at Annex A (attached below). There is no need for any additional oath of allegiance.
  2. Coroners appointed before the implementation of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 may not have been required to take an oath on appointment. However, the principles underlying the oath/affirmation still apply to them.
  3. Taking the oath or affirmation is not a pre-condition of sitting on an inquest or conducting an investigation, so a swearing-in ceremony can be arranged at a convenient time following a coroner’s appointment.

Senior coroners

  1. For Senior Coroners, the judicial oath or affirmation will be taken before the Lord Chief Justice, the Chief Coroner, a Deputy Chief Coroner, or another senior judge, in a short but formal swearing-in ceremony.
  2. The Chief Coroner’s office will arrange the swearing-in ceremony at a convenient time following the Senior Coroner’s appointment.

Area coroners and assistant coroners

  1. Area and Assistant coroners will take the judicial oath or affirmation before the senior coroner in the coroner’s court.
  2. It is suggested that there is a brief, formal event in court, in which the new coroner takes the oath or affirmation and is then welcomed to the coroner area. The Chief Coroner’s office can provide a suggested procedure, if requested.


  1. Robes may be worn by coroners for formal or ceremonial occasions (including swearing-in ceremonies), provided that the person in charge of the event agrees this is appropriate. There is no need to differentiate between Senior Coroners, Area Coroners and Assistant Coroners in relation to the types of robes that are worn. The wearing of robes for formal or ceremonial occasions should never be mandatory.
  2. To maintain consistency across England and Wales and reflect best practice, robes should not be worn by coroners on any other occasion, including in hearings (and that includes gown, bands, wig, or a combination of them).
  3. Counsel and solicitors should not be expected to wear robes at coroner’s courts.
  4. With the exception of appearing in photographs at formal/ceremonial occasions, a coroner should not be photographed in robes for any public purpose, including for the coroner area’s website.

HHJ Thomas Teague KC
The Chief Coroner

18 April 2023