This keynote address was delivered as part of the 2021 Victorian Coroners Court Conference on Shining the Light.
Justice Deborah Mortimer discussed how coronial investigations are conducted with the public interest purpose to contribute to the reduction of the number of preventable deaths. Justice Mortimer considered the meaning of the ‘public interest’ in its broadest sense and its application to the coronial context.
Referring to the values that underpin public law, such as fairness, certainty, equality, reasonableness, rationality, humanity and the dignity and autonomy of the individual, Justice Mortimer remarked:
‘…It is the way that we as judges project those values, and the way the system we work with projects those values, which is what will advance and maintain public confidence. In turn, it is that confidence which leads to an acceptance of judicial authority, and an acceptance of the rule of law.’