Image of Jacqueline Devonish, the new Senior Coroner for Cheshire.

Jacqueline Devonish has formally taken up her role as the new Senior Coroner for Cheshire.

Jacqueline’s previous role was Her Majesty’s Area Coroner for Suffolk and she has had a long and varied career in the judiciary.

After studying a business studies degree, she converted to law and studied at the College of Law, Chester.

Her legal career began in 1991 and she went into practice as a general civil litigator, family and conveyancing solicitor. In 1994, she became a managing partner for a law firm based in London where she established and ran a litigation department.

She was appointed as a Solicitor Member of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in 2006, which she chaired for 14 years, and during this period she began to consider and explore the idea of becoming a coroner after being recommended by a colleague.

Between 2006 and 2020, Jacqueline practised as a criminal law prosecution advocate in fraud for a government agency.

She was appointed to her first assistant coroner position based in London in 2011, later becoming Area Coroner in Suffolk, and is a member of the United Kingdom Association of Women Judges.

In Suffolk, Jacqueline supported the delivery of the public sector duty under the Equalities Act by implementation of the Race Equality Action Plan. She has delivered presentations on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and given inspirational talks to managers and law firms on self-development and progression.

Her Suffolk team received an award from the High Sherriff for 'outstanding service to the community of Suffolk’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, working throughout the pandemic and clearing a record number of inquests.

Jacqueline is involved in training coroner service stakeholders, including the NHS, GPs, Police, Ambulance Service, Registration Service and others, and expects to offer this to stakeholders in the Cheshire jurisdiction.

She also carries out a range of charitable work for The Law Society of England and Wales, The Worshipful Company of Barbers Livery Company in the City of London, and the Barbados High Commission in London.

Coroners are judicial office holders who are independently appointed and are responsible for investigating deaths to find out how, when and where they occurred. Coroners will investigate a death if it was unnatural or suspicious, the cause of death is unknown or if the person died in any form of state detention, such as a prison or police custody.

Jacqueline said: “Coroners have an important role to play in the judiciary. We are judges and need to be legally qualified, and I want to bring my experience in previous legal roles - not least my most recent position as Area Coroner for Suffolk - to continue the exemplary work of Cheshire’s coroner’s office.

“Starting this role is a homecoming of sorts, as I previously studied at the College of Law in Chester. I have fond memories of the local area and I want to bring an energy and efficiency to the role to ensure that we provide the best possible service to the people of Cheshire.”

Warrington Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Professor Steven Broomhead MBE, said: “I would like to warmly welcome Jacqueline to her new role.

“Jacqueline is a highly respected professional in her field and we are very pleased that we have been able to appoint somebody of her stature and expertise to this position.”