His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC has been appointed as the second Chief Coroner of England and Wales with effect from 1 October, for a three-year term.

He will succeed HHJ Peter Thornton QC, who retires in October.   

Lucraft, 54, was called to the bar in 1984 and took silk in 2006. He was appointed a Recorder in 2003 and a Circuit Judge in 2012. He is currently deployed to the Central Criminal Court where, in addition to his new work as chief coroner, he will continue to sit.

The chief coroner, an office created by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, is head of the coroner system, providing national leadership for coroners in England and Wales. Thornton has won plaudits in the role for modernising a system perceived to be in need of greater professionalisation.

Charity Inquest, which advises the families of people who die in custody, has praised Thornton for providing training for coroners’ officers.

Last month Thornton called for legal aid to be provided for families at inquests in which the government pays for lawyers to represent police officers or other state employees.