What happens if the death is referred to the coroner?

Why the Coroner is involved
There are certain situations where the coroner needs to be informed. These include:

  • When the deceased was not attended by a doctor during the last illness or the doctor had not seen them within 14 days before death
  • If the death was violent, unnatural or occurred under suspicious circumstances
  • If the cause of death is unknown or uncertain
  • If the death occurred while the patient was undergoing an operation or did not recover from an anaesthetic
  • If the death was caused by an industrial disease
  • If the death occurred in prison or police custody

Usually the GP or hospital doctor will refer the case to the Coroner. Occasionally the registrar may refer the case to the Coroner if they are not satisfied with the cause of death.

What the Coroner does
Once reported, the Coroner's Officer or a police officer will usually take a statement from the next of kin or close relative and you may need to identify the deceased. The facts will then be presented to the Coroner who will decide if a post mortem needs to be carried out.

Proceeding with the funeral
We will liaise with the Coroner's Officer and keep you informed. Normally, the forms that we require for the funeral to take place will be issued by the coroner and either delivered to the crematorium or must be collected from the Registrar.

Formally registering the death
You will need to register the death at some stage to obtain certified copies of the Death Certificate for insurance companies, banks, building societies and solicitors. These are currently £4.00 each and you can purchase as many as you need.

If an inquest is to take place, you cannot register the death until the full inquest is over, but you can obtain an interim certificate from the Coroner to sort out financial matters.