Using narrative to construct accountability in cases of death after police contact

David Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the use of narrative verdicts in the coronial system in England and Wales to record findings in cases of death after police contact. It uses a data set of 68 verdicts into such cases in the period 2004-2015. The paper considers how regulation is constructed in a way that makes complex cases comprehensible through narrative. The construction of these narratives is affected by legal structures, institutional structures, but also the structures imposed by narrative convention. The paper argues that the relationships between these structures affect what type of narrative is constructed in the aftermath of a death after police contact. It further suggests that devices within narratives enable the construction of a comprehensible narrative verdict in such cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-75
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Accountability
  • coroners’ courts
  • deaths
  • narrative
  • police

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Psychology
  • Law


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