Death and Fire Enquiries Act

Link to law: http://tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1924/1924-0007/DeathandFireEnquiriesAct_1.pdf
Published: 1924-11-06

Death and Fire Inquiries Act


2008 Revised Edition

CAP. 7.16






DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 Arrangement of Sections





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DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

PART I - PRELIMINARY 5
1 Short title................................................................................................................ 5
2 Interpretation.......................................................................................................... 5

PART II - DEATH INQUIRIES 6
3 Duties and powers of police and medical practitioners ......................................... 6
4 Magistrate to hold inquiry in certain cases ............................................................ 6
5 Magistrate may order disinterment of body........................................................... 7
6 Death in prison....................................................................................................... 7
7 Powers of magistrate.............................................................................................. 7
8 Post-mortem examination of body......................................................................... 7
9 Medical practitioner to make post-mortem when required .................................... 7
10 Penalty for failure to comply with order................................................................ 8
11 Fee for post-mortem............................................................................................... 8
12 Penalty for failure to report unnatural death .......................................................... 8

PART III - FIRE INQUIRIES 8
13 Fire inquiry ............................................................................................................ 8

PART IV - MISCELLANEOUS 8
14 Power of Minister to appoint other persons ........................................................... 8
15 Inquires to be judicial proceedings ........................................................................ 9


SCHEDULE 1 10

REPORT OF DEATH MADE BY THE POLICE 10

Arrangement of Sections CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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SCHEDULE 2 13

WARRANT ORDERING DISINTERMENT 13

SCHEDULE 3 14

ORDER FOR POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION 14

SCHEDULE 4 15

OATH TO BE TAKEN BY A PERSON APPOINTED UNDER SECTION 14
TO HOLD AN INQUIRY 15

Supporting Documents

ENDNOTES 16

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 Section 1





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DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

AN ACT TO PROVIDE IN CERTAIN CASES FOR INQUIRIES INTO THE
CAUSES OF DEATH OR FIRE1

Commencement [6th November 1924]

PART I - PRELIMINARY

1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Death and Fire Inquiries Act.

2 Interpretation
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires —

“magistrate” means the magistrate having jurisdiction for the place in
question or, if there be more than one such magistrate, such one or more as
the Senior Magistrate may appoint;

“officer in charge of police” bears the meaning ascribed to that term by
section 2 of the Police Act2; and

“medical practitioner” means any person for the time being registered, or
conditionally registered, as a medical practitioner, or as a medical officer,
under the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act3.

Section 3 CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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PART II - DEATH INQUIRIES

3 Duties and powers of police and medical practitioners
(1) Upon information being given to an officer in charge of police in any place

that any person has died in the circumstances set out in section 4(1), such
officer, or an officer delegated by him, shall forthwith proceed to the place
where the body is lying, or, if the body has been destroyed or cannot be
found, to the place where the death occurred and shall make an investigation
into the circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased and shall draw
up a report in the form specified in Schedule 1 to a magistrate for the place in
which the body is lying or where the death occurred.

(2) Where a police officer acting in pursuance of the provisions of this section
considers it expedient that an examination of the body should be made in
order to discover the cause of death he shall, if it is necessary and if
practicable, forward the body to a medical practitioner for examination and
such medical practitioner upon receiving an order in that behalf in pursuance
of section 8 shall examine the body and make a report of his examination to
the magistrate, to the officer in charge of police in the place in which the body
was found, and to the Chief of Police.

4 Magistrate to hold inquiry in certain cases
(1) Whenever a magistrate shall have been informed, or shall have reason to

believe or suspect, that the death of any person occurring, or of any person
who may be found dead, within his area has been brought about or accelerated
by any unnatural cause, he shall, as soon as may be practicable, at such time
and place as he shall fix, hold an inquiry into the cause of death.

(2) At the conclusion of the evidence the magistrate shall record and sign a
finding which shall as far as possible contain the following particulars:
(a) the name, sex, nationality, residence and occupation of the deceased;
(b) the place where and the time at which the body of the deceased was

found;
(c) the date and the circumstances in which the deceased met his death;
(d) the cause of death:

Provided that where criminal proceedings are instituted against any person in
respect of an offence connected with the death it shall be lawful for the
magistrate at any stage of the proceedings to close the inquiry without
recording any finding.

(3) The Senior Magistrate, upon application made by the Attorney-General, or on
his own motion, may, if he considers it desirable in the interests of justice so
to do —

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 Section 5





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(a) order an inquiry under this section to be held, adjourned, resumed,
closed or re-opened;

(b) quash any finding, substituting therefor some other finding which
appears to be lawful and in accordance with the evidence or directing
the taking of further evidence and the recording of a fresh finding.

5 Magistrate may order disinterment of body
If a body shall have been interred before an inquiry shall have been held the
magistrate, if he shall think fit, may by warrant in the form specified in Schedule 2
under his hand order the disinterment of such body for the purpose of the inquiry
and such disinterment shall be made accordingly.

6 Death in prison
A magistrate shall hold an inquiry into the cause of all deaths within his area of all
persons confined in any prison or other place of lawful detention.

7 Powers of magistrate
For the purpose of every inquiry held under or by virtue of the provisions of this
Act, the magistrate holding the same shall have powers like to those vested in
magistrate's courts in respect of the following matters:

(1) for administering oaths or affirmations to witnesses and compelling
them to give evidence;

(2) for compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of
documents;

(3) for the punishment of contempt if committed in the presence of the
magistrate during the inquiry.

8 Post-mortem examination of body
Whenever it is expedient that the dead body of any person should be examined by a
medical practitioner, the magistrate shall forthwith issue an order in the form
specified in Schedule 3 to any such medical practitioner to make a post-mortem
examination of the body of the deceased person.

9 Medical practitioner to make post-mortem when required
Every medical practitioner who is required to make a post-mortem examination as in
the last preceding section provided shall thereupon make such examination as may
enable him to ascertain as far as possible the cause of death and shall send a report
thereof to the magistrate requiring the examination.

Section 10 CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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10 Penalty for failure to comply with order
Every medical practitioner who fails or neglects to comply with the provisions of
section 9, unless he shows good and sufficient cause for not complying with the
same, shall be liable to a fine of $20.

11 Fee for post-mortem
A medical practitioner for making a post-mortem examination of a body of a
deceased person when required as aforesaid and for his report thereon to the
magistrate shall receive such fee as the Minister may prescribe.

12 Penalty for failure to report unnatural death
Every person becoming aware of any unnatural death or of any death by violence or
by accident, and who neglects to notify the nearest magistrate or to notify any such
death at the nearest police station shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine of
$100 or to imprisonment for 1 month.4

PART III - FIRE INQUIRIES

13 Fire inquiry
A magistrate may hold an inquiry into the cause and origin of any fire occurring
within his area when in his opinion the circumstances of the fire require an inquiry;
and for such purpose a magistrate shall have and may exercise all or any of the
powers conferred by Part II in so far as the same shall be applicable.

PART IV - MISCELLANEOUS

14 Power of Minister to appoint other persons
(1) The Minister may appoint one or more fit and proper persons for the purposes

of holding inquiries under this Act:

Provided always that any such person shall only exercise the powers thereby
conferred upon him in the event of the magistrate of the area being unable to
hold an inquiry owing to illness or absence or any other reasonable cause.

(2) All the powers of a magistrate under this Act shall be thereupon vested in any
such person appointed as aforesaid.

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 Section 15





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(3) Every such person shall, before exercising any of the powers conferred upon
him as hereinbefore provided, make and subscribe before the Minister or any
magistrate the oath prescribed in Schedule 4.

15 Inquires to be judicial proceedings
Any proceedings under this Act shall be a judicial proceeding for the purpose of the
Penal Code5.

SCHEDULE 1 CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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SCHEDULE 1

(Section 3)

DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

REPORT OF DEATH MADE BY THE POLICE

1. Name of deceased

2. Sex of deceased

3. Age of deceased

4. Place of birth of deceased

5. Period of residence in Tuvalu

6. Nationality

7. Place of death

8. Date and hour of death

9. Supposed cause of death

10. If death follows illness state length and nature of illness

11. If visited by medical practitioner, state where, when and by whom. If not so visited, the
reasons why

12. How was deceased employed before death?

13. Where is body now?

14. Name of person who first informed police

15. Date and hour first information received by police

16. Where deceased was last seen, or known to be, alive

17. If deceased was married give the following particulars:

(a) where;

(b) at what age;

(c) to whom;

(d) names and ages of deceased's children in order of birth.
18. Names of deceased's parents

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 SCHEDULE 1





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19. Names of persons (if any) present at time of death or during last illness

20. Name and address of persons able to identify deceased

21. Name of police officer detailed to ascertain full particulars before reporting to
magistrate

22. Date and hour so detailed

23. Describe fully how the body was found, its exact position and whether face appeared
distorted or natural

24. Was the presence of any poisonous odour detected?

25. Has any vomiting taken place on dress or bed-clothing?

26. What was condition of body?

27. Were there any marks of violence on the body?

28. Are there any circumstances leading to a suspicion of suicide or murder?

29. Date and hour report sent to magistrate

30. How forwarded

31. By whom forwarded

32. Was any medical examination under section 8 of the Act ordered?

Having made inquiries I have the honour to report that - *there are/*there are no suspicious
circumstances surrounding the death and *there are/*there are no marks of violence on the
body. In my view an inquiry under the Death and Fire Inquiries Act *ought to be/*ought
not to be held.

.................................................

Investigating Police Officer

*Delete as applicable.

SCHEDULE 1 CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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To: His Worship, ..........., Esquire, ............

Magistrate, ..........................................

To: Officer in Charge of Police

at

I order that an inquiry under the Act be held and fix ............ o'clock in the *fore/*after
noon as the time, ............ day the ................ day of ...............20... as the date and
......................... as the place thereof.

...............................

Magistrate

*Delete as applicable.

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 SCHEDULE 2





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SCHEDULE 2

(Section 5)

DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

WARRANT ORDERING DISINTERMENT

IN exercise of the powers conferred upon me by section 5 of the Death and Fire Inquiries
Act, I DO HEREBY ORDER that the body of ......... late of ......................... deceased, who
died on or about the .......... day of ........... 20...., be disinterred.

..................................

Magistrate
To:

SCHEDULE 3 CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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SCHEDULE 3

(Section 8)

DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

ORDER FOR POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION

IN exercise of the powers conferred upon me by section 8 of the Death and Fire Inquiries
Act, I DO HEREBY COMMAND AND REQUEST you, medical practitioner, to make a
post-mortem examination of the body of ..................., late of ........................ deceased, and
to make a report thereof, as required by the said Act.

Dated at ............... this .............. day of ............. 20...

..........................................

Magistrate
To: Dr.

Medical Practitioner,

_________________

Death and Fire Inquiries Act CAP. 7.16 SCHEDULE 4





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SCHEDULE 4

(Section 14)

DEATH AND FIRE INQUIRIES ACT

OATH TO BE TAKEN BY A PERSON APPOINTED UNDER SECTION 14 TO
HOLD AN INQUIRY

I, ..............., do swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lady the Queen and
will act diligently and truly to the best of my ability for the doing of right and for the good
of the people touching the matter of any inquiry I may be called upon to hold under the
provisions of the Death and Fire Inquiries Act.

...........................................

Signature of person making oath.
Sworn before me ............. at ......... this ........ day of .........., 20...

...............................................................

Person before whom oath sworn

ENDNOTES CAP. 7.16 Death and Fire Inquiries Act





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ENDNOTES


1 1990 Revised Edition, Cap. 13 – Acts 7 of 1924, 5 of 1965, 10 of 1967, 3 of 1968, 8 of 1971, 13 of

1972, LN 16/1974
Amended by Act 4 of 2009, commencement 6 July 2009
2 Cap. 20.24
3 Cap. 28.12
4 Amended by Act 4 of 2009
5 Cap. 10.20
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