Max Mclean

The Coroner as decision maker
Human and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Dr Jason Roach

My educational background

I completed O levels at school in the 1970’s, then a degree in Organisational Studies at Bradford and Ilkley Community College, completed in 1992.

My research area

My research investigates the way in which coroners throughout the country make decisions. How do they determine which cases should be reported to them, whether the death should proceed to inquest, and what is the appropriate verdict? Evidence suggests an idiosyncratic approach to decision making with wide variation across the 114 jurisdictions.

Using my practical experience

I retired as a senior police officer in 2010, having been Head of the CID and Homicide Team in West Yorkshire. After a career investigating death and serious crime, I want to focus my efforts on a particular area of interest within this subject.
For me, study has been a pleasure after completing a long career in investigative work. I guess embarking on my PhD gave me a ‘soft landing’ from a job that required 24/7 commitment and presence. I have been able to use my working experience to good effect by combining that with research and new ideas.

Rising to the challenge

Remembering the basics of data analysis has been the hardest thing so far.! Getting my head around correlations, regression lines and ‘normal distribution’ have given me my biggest headaches. But the excitement of establishing something not previously reported makes it worthwhile.

Advice for prospective PhD students

Do it. The pleasure gained from deeper study of a subject that interests you is immense. Remind yourself of the basics of good study, give yourself time and space to think, and be confident in expressing your opinions and testing your suspicions.

My future career

I don’t know for certain yet but I think I would like to pursue further academic research following completion of my PhD.

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