Draft Coroners Bill

I wrote on June 7 that the Coroner Reform Draft Bill was to be published in parallel versions, one of which was to be in plain English.

That bill was published on June 12, and here is a page linking to it and other materials.

It has now been pointed out to me that this is not really a parallel plain English version, but merely extremely extensive notes. But I wasn’t the only person fooled! Here’s an example relating to treasure (the new name for treasure trove, Schatzfund):

bq. This publication is set out so that the Bill is as easy to understand as possible. It
begins with an overview of the contents followed by a list of the Bill’s measures.
The Bill’s clauses and schedules are down the left hand side of the page, with an explanation of the purposes of the clauses on the right hand side.

bq. Act:
35 Investigations in relation to treasure
(1) The Coroner for Treasure must conduct an investigation in relation to an object in respect of which notification is given under section 8(1) or 8A(1) of the Treasure Act 1996 (c. 24) (but this is subject to section 38).

bq. Explanation:
Clause 35: Investigations in relation to treasure
This clause sets out the circumstances in which the Coroner for Treasure must conduct an investigation in relation to treasure, and the purpose of such an investigation. Currently, responsibility for inquiring into treasure finds falls to the coroner in whose area the find is made. In the reformed system, the duty to investigate treasure finds for the whole of England and Wales belongs to a single coroner, the Coroner for Treasure, who will be able to draw on Assistant Coroners for Treasure as required. The workload is not expected to require more than one full-time post-holder.
The Coroner for Treasure is required by subsection (1) to conduct an investigation into objects which have been notified to him under the Treasure Act 1996 and under subsection (2) he has a discretion to conduct an investigation into objects which have not been notified to him but which he suspects to be treasure under that Act.

I wonder if the problem arose in the Times article I originally quoted: it referred first to an ‘easy-to-understand interpretation’ and secondly to a ‘simultaneous translation’. Perhaps I should look at the debates to see what was really meant.

Thanks to Political Umpire at Fora

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