Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
OfferedSouthbank Full year 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)A/Prof David Ranson


Coronial and other medico-legal death investigation systems.
This topic provides a framework and wider context for the practice of forensic pathology and covers:
Actual and theoretical models for death investigation systems, using examples from Australia, other jurisdictions and recent reform proposals in the UK including issues of organisation and administration, investigation powers and inquests/formal hearings.
Relationships with forensic pathology and science services.
Management of bodies and tissues.
Interaction with next of kin.

Death Scene Investigation
This topic will provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills to observe and analyse evidence at death scenes, enhancing their ability to work effectively with other participants in the process and assist in answering questions about the cause and the circumstances of deaths under investigation. These skills will be applied to a range of special scenes to provide students with as varied and relevant experience as possible:
Deaths in Custody
Hospitals and other Health Institutions
Transport Related Deaths
Mass Disaster
War Crimes Death Investigation
Industrial Deaths
Fire Scenes
Explosion Scenes


On completion of this unit the student is expected to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of different models for death investigation systems.
  2. Understand how issues of organisation and administration of death investigation systems and management of key processes impact on forensic pathology practice.
  3. Understand the principles of death scene investigation and the roles of the relevant participants in the investigation;
  4. Have acquired skills necessary for effectively observing and analyzing death scene evidence.
  5. Be able to apply these skills to different types of death scenes.


Assignments 30%, Case Study presentation 40% and Oral Examination 30%.

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

60 Contact hours (tutorials and attendance at scenes), 50 hours of case and practical work and approximately 46 hours for individual study, assignments and case book preparation.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Enrolment by Department of Forensic Medicine permission only

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: