Groups who lobbied the government about its decision not to appoint a chief coroner have welcomed a "stunning concession" from justice secretary Ken Clarke.
Yesterday Clarke confirmed he has dropped plans to transfer some of the chief coroner's statutory powers to the lord chief justice and the lord chancellor, with a ministerial board overseeing the non-judicial aspects of the service provided in England and Wales.
Alison Cox MBE, founder and chief executive of Cardiac Risk in the Young, said the u-turn was "a tribute to the tenacity of thousands of bereaved families who have been incensed with the government's decision to axe the role of chief coroner".
"CRY's campaign began in Januaryculminating in our Coroners Postcard highlighting the current postcode lottery of this crucial service.
"9,300 postcards were requested by protesting CRY supporters over the summer holidays appealing to MP's for help. I was particularly alarmed that the government's intention was to substitute the chief coroner's role with a Ministerial Board.
"Sudden death is indiscriminate and the autonomy of the coroner is vital to identify the cause of death. Leadership is the key to the improvements in the service that can now be made.
"Baroness Finlay's fight back in the House of Lords has been magnificent and I am sure her support will extend to winning the final battle protecting the option for an Appeals Process in today's debate."
The last Labour government set up the post of chief coroner, a judicial office-holder who would lead reform, introduce national standards and oversee a new appeals system.
However, ministers said the new post will cost £10m to set up, with annual running costs of £6.5m.
The Royal British Legion also campaigned on the issue. It said the establishment of a chief coroner's office was critical to improving the working of the inquest system in relation to military inquests.
Clarke said in a statement: "Over recent months I have listened to and reflected on the concerns raised across Parliament, by families and by other groups, including the Royal British Legion, that a single figure needs to be responsible for the coroner system.
"I am prepared to have one last try to meet those arguments and so have taken the decision to implement the office of the chief coroner.
"The existing mechanisms for challenging a coroner's decision will remain in place and will avoid the need for expensive new appeal rights. The new post will be focused on working to deliver the reform to coroners' services that we all want to see and which I previously argued should be delivered by the Lord Chief Justice and myself.
"Everyone is agreed that the priority is raising the standards of coroners' inquiries and inquests to ensure that bereaved families are satisfied with the whole process.
"I am therefore giving the chief coroner the full range of powers to drive up standards, including coroner training, as well as setting minimum standards of service through the new Charter."