The Coroner

When does a coroner become involved?

If someone has died suddenly, unexpectedly or violently, a coroner may become involved. This also applies if someone had not seen a doctor within the previous seven days.

A coroner will automatically be involved if the person who died was placed under a DOLS Act (Deprivation of Liberty Order).

Until a coroner makes their judgement, a death cannot be registered.

What happens if there is no inquest?

The UK coroner will send a form to the registrar informing them that the death can now be registered. The coroner’s office will tell you if they need a medical certificate of cause of death from the doctor. You can then make an appointment to register the death.

What happens if there is to be an inquest?

The coroner may offer you an interim certificate before the inquest is held. This certificate is known as the UK Coroner’s certificate of the fact of death. It is issued to help you deal with the estate of the deceased.

They will need to know anticipated funeral details.

You can’t register a death using this certificate. However, it can be used for services like the North Yorkshire County Council’s Tell Us Once service.

What happens after an inquest?

The coroner will keep the family updated at all times. After the inquest, the UK coroner sends a form to the registrar. The registrar will then register the death. You won’t need to visit the register office. But you’ll need to contact them to arrange for copies of the death certificate.

What happens after this?

Once the Coroner has finished their investigations, they release the body to your funeral director. They’ll also send paperwork to the Register Office so the family can start registering the death.

More details about the work of a UK coroner

The government has written some useful guides about coroners.