Your funeral director will guide you through and explain the coroner’s procedure as it can sometimes appear more complicated than it is. There are a number of reasons why a death may be reported or referred to the coroner, none of which should necessarily give cause for concern or distress. These reasons might include:
- Cause of death is unknown
- Death was sudden or unexplained
- Death was due to violence or unnatural
- The deceased hasn’t been seen by their Doctor during their last illness or within the final 14 days
- Death occurred during an operation or before the deceased came around from the anaesthetic
- Cause of death suggests it may have been caused by an industrial disease or industrial poisoning
A death may be reported to the Coroner who investigates and then decides that no further action is required. The Coroner would then instruct the Doctor to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). From this point the normal registration procedure can be followed.
If the Coroner decides that a MCCD cannot be issued then a post-mortem examination would be performed. Following this examination the cause of death may be clear, which if so, the coroner would release the deceased into the care of the Funeral Director. The coroner would send notification directly to the registrar regarding the cause of death, therefore no MCCD would be issued. From this point the normal registration procedure can be followed. If a cremation has been chosen a Green Certificate would not be issued by the registrar.
If the Coroner cannot establish the cause of death following the post-mortem examination, if the death was a result of violence, an unnatural death or if the death occurred in prison or police custody then an inquest will be opened and adjourned, once the Coroner is satisfied that sufficient evidence has been gathered. At this point the coroner would release the deceased into the care of the Funeral Director and issue the appropriate paperwork for the funeral to take place. Interim Certificates of Fact of Death would be issued to the relatives. These can be used to notify organisations such as banks etc. The death cannot be registered until after the inquest has been held. The Coroner will send the appropriate paperwork to the registrar and inform them of what to put in the register. The family will not attend the register office.