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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 September 2006, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Ex-judge tipped for Diana inquest
Diana, Princess of Wales
Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997
The inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales is set to be taken over by Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.

The government has recommended the retired judge for the role after the Royal Coroner Michael Burgess stepped down from the task in July.

If she accepts she will study documents relating to the deaths of the princess and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Lady Butler-Sloss refused to confirm if she would be taking over the inquest.

Speaking to the Press Association on Saturday morning, she said: "I have absolutely no comment to make."

If she does take over the inquest she will receive the findings of Lord Stevens' police probe and will have to decide whether to hold a joint inquest or separate ones, and if a jury should be called on.

Under existing law, jurors would come from the Queen's household.

Heavy workload

BBC Royal correspondent Peter Hunt says if Lady Butler-Sloss decides against having a jury there is a risk her findings might be dismissed as an establishment whitewash.

Lady Elizabeth Butler Sloss

Mr Burgess withdrew from the cases blaming a "heavy and constant" workload for his decision.

The official report into the deaths is being prepared by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens.

Lady Butler-Sloss was a High Court and Appeal Court judge and President of the Family Division.

She chaired the Cleveland child abuse inquiry in 1987 and many of her recommendations were incorporated in the subsequent Children Act.

Princess Diana and Mr Al Fayed died after the Mercedes in which they were travelling crashed in the Alma underpass in Paris on 31 August 1997.

They were being pursued by photographers after leaving the Ritz Hotel.


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