Mary Hassell: Chief coroner called my ‘cab rank’ rule ‘excellent’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Mary Hassell: Chief coroner called my ‘cab rank’ rule ‘excellent’

Revelation claims judge Mark Lucraft had backed controversial restrictions on burials, before branding them 'unlawful' two weeks ago

Mary Hassell

Credit: Faith Matters
Mary Hassell Credit: Faith Matters

The Chief Coroner said under-fire coroner Mary Hassell’s “cab-rank” rule of releasing bodies for burial was “excellent” – before changing his mind two weeks ago.

The comments came in an “Addendum” lodged last week by Hassell, the senior coroner for Inner London, in her fight against lawyers representing an Orthodox burial society, who she has called “bullies”.

In his legal submission to a judicial review of Hassell’s stance, set for later this month, Chief Coroner Judge Mark Lucraft described Hassell’s conduct as “over-rigid”, “not capable of rational justification” and “not lawful”.

Hassell has now submitted correspondence between them before she published her protocol, showing how he told her that it was “excellent”.

Lucraft, in a response to Hassell’s revelation, said he “misinterpreted” her protocol and has since taken specialist legal advice which prompted his U-turn.

In a press release, the law firm representing the Orthodox burial society seeking to challenge Hassell’s position said she was “trying to blame [the] Chief Coroner and the Jews for her own unlawful conduct”.

Trevor Asserson this week gave an uncompromising statement on the coroner, saying Hassell’s position was becoming “more untenable by the minute”. He went on to describe her as “stubborn,” “irrational” and “ignorant of the law”.

On Hassell submitting Lucraft’s original judgement of her position, Asserson accused her of “hiding behind correspondence” and “washing dirty laundry in public, showing yet further lack of judgment”. He denied his firm’s behaviour was bullying.

Asher Gratt, speaking on behalf of The Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS), said: “The tone of the correspondence emerging from Ms Hassell, as well as her conduct, make us fear that she has no real interest in accommodating the deeply held religious beliefs of the Jewish and Muslim communities.”

He added: “We are becoming increasingly concerned that bereaved families will continue to suffer – adding anguish and distress because of Ms Hassell’s rigid and inflexible policies.”

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments