How or why might the coroner be involved?

Naturally a sudden death together with the Coroner’s involvement can be very distressing. You may have a number of questions. As trained professionals we are fully acquainted with all procedures and we are here to help and guide you. Be assured that the Coroner and their officers are working in your interest.

There are a number of reasons why a death may be referred to Her Majesty’s Coroner and under such circumstances different procedural requirements and registration procedures will be necessary. However, these should not give you any cause for alarm.

Who will be coroner?

The Coroner is usually qualified as a Doctor or Solicitor and is a judicial officer independent of local and central government who is required to act in accordance with the law. Any sudden or unexplained death may be reported to the Coroner regardless of how it may appear to have happened.

Sometimes the Coroner will be able to determine by simple enquiry whether the death was due to natural causes and that a Doctor is willing to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. If so the death is registered in the usual manner.

If this is not the case the Coroner may require a post-mortem examination. This will often indicate that the death was due to natural causes and in such cases there is NO inquest. The Coroner will send a certificate to the Registrar so that the death can be registered. For a burial the Green Certificate will be issued by the Registrar to hand to the Funeral Director. For a cremation the Coroner will issue a special certificate directly to the Funeral Director or Crematorium and no Green Certificate is required.

If the death is due to unnatural causes (i.e. an accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an inquest. This is a formal enquiry to establish a) the identity of the deceased; b) when, where and how the death occurred; c) the cause of death. Usually an inquest will be adjourned to allow the funeral to take place. Once all the relevant facts have been established the inquest will be reopened. This may be some weeks later. The Coroner will issue special certificates depending on whether it is a burial or cremation. Preliminary Death Certificates may be obtained from the Coroner to help towards the administration of the estate.