When a death is reported to a coroner
If a death is reported to a coroner, the documents you need to register the death may be different. The coroner will decide either:
- the cause of death is clear
- that a post-mortem is needed
- to hold an inquest
If the cause of death is clear
If the coroner decides that the cause of death is clear the doctor will sign a medical certificate and you can take this to register the death. The coroner will also issue a certificate to the registrar stating a post-mortem is not needed.
If a post-mortem is needed
The coroner may decide a post-mortem is needed to find out how the person died. This can be done either in a hospital or mortuary and usually involves operating on the body to carry out an internal examination. You cannot object to a coroner’s post-mortem.
The coroner will always consider any religious beliefs, cultural requirements and family wishes when conducting all aspects of an investigation, including a post-mortem. You cannot attend post-mortem examinations.
You can request to see the body but sometimes, the coroner will suggest that you do not see the body if they feel that this may cause you distress. This will be explained to you sensitively so that you can decide whether you still want to see the body.
After the post-mortem
The coroner will release the body for a funeral once they have completed the post-mortem examinations and no further examinations are needed.
If the body is released with no inquest, the coroner will send a form (‘Pink Form - form 100B’) to the registrar stating the cause of death.
The coroner will also send a ‘Certificate of Coroner - form Cremation 6’ if the body is to be cremated.
If the coroner holds an inquest
A coroner will hold an inquest if the cause of death is unknown, unnatural, or the person died in prison or otherwise in state detention.
The court can issue an interim death certificate which can be used for probate and other purposes to prove the fact of death.
After the inquest the coroner will register the death and you can get the final death certificate from the registrar.