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Some non-suspicious deaths investigated by the Police are passed over to the Coroner's Officers to complete the enquiry.

When somebody dies, there is a duty on the doctor who has treated the deceased in their last illness to issue a Death Certificate, stating to "the best of their knowledge and belief", what the cause of death is.

If the Doctor is unable to establish the cause, the death will be dealt with by the relative's Coroner.

In these situations, if the police do attend, they will -

  • Arrange for the body to be identified
  • Inform relatives
  • Submit a report to Coroner's office

On receipt of that report, in order to prepare for an inquest (should it be required) the Coroner's Officers will:

  • Contact the deceased's relatives, usually by telephone
  • Ring the general practitioner
  • Liaise with other agencies, e.g. Police, Ambulance service, Funeral Directors, and others.

Where a Doctor will not issue a death certificate a Post Mortem Examination will be required. The Coroner's officer will be responsible for:

  • Informing the relatives
  • Telling them the cause of death
  • Explaining the result if they don't understand,
  • Telling them about what to do next in terms of registering the death at the Register Office
  • Liaising with their appointed Funeral Director.

See links in related information for more details.


A Coroner is appointed locally and funded by the Local Authority but with Crown authority, hence the term Her Majesty's Coroner. A Coroner is usually a person who has a medical and/or legal qualification.

The duties of a Coroner are to investigate violent, unnatural, and sudden deaths and also deaths in state detention, such as prisons or police custody.

They determine who the deceased was, how, when and where they died and enquire into the circumstances. In the case of unnatural deaths, the Coroner must hold an Inquest. Murder, manslaughter and those deemed suspicious are investigated by the Police and also road collisions.

See links in related information for more details.

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