When the Coroner is Involved

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.

What does the Coroner do?

The Coroner is an independent judicial officer, who is required to act when any sudden death occurs. It is the duty of the Coroner to ascertain the cause of death and to investigate any unusual circumstances.

It is the Coroners officers who work on behalf of the Coroner, who usually investigate the death and report their findings accordingly.

What is the Coroners procedure?

Depending upon the Coroners findings there are a number of different procedures to follow:

No Post Mortem Examination

Following a simple enquiry the Coroner may find that the death was due to natural causes and that there is a Doctor who is able to issue a Medical Certificate (The Medical Certificate is sometimes referred to as the “Death Certificate”. It is usually in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar).

A Post Mortem Examination

If a Doctor is unable to issue a Medical Certificate the Coroner may require a post mortem examination. The consent from relatives is not needed for this, but you can choose a Doctor to be present. The result of the post mortem examination will usually indicate that the death was due to natural causes and there is no need for an inquest.

An Inquest

If the death was not due to natural causes (for example an accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an Inquest. This is an inquiry to determine:

  • The identity of the deceased
  • When, where, and how the death occurred
  • The cause of death

After opening the inquest and establishing the identity of the deceased, the Coroner may adjourn and allow the funeral to take place.

It may be sometime before the Inquest into the death is reopened to establish the cause of death.

The Coroners Officers and your Funeral Director will be able to advise you of any action that may be necessary

The Coroner will also:

  • Give free of charge, an order for Burial or Cremation
  • Send a Certificate (After Inquest) to the Registrar, stating the cause of death
  • Give, usually as a matter of course, a letter confirming the fact of death for Social Security and insurance benefit purposes – click for more information
  • Give permission for the body to be removed out of England and Wales – more information on repatriation
  • Pay for the removal of the deceased from the place of death to the mortuary

If you have any further questions please contact your Funeral Director or local Coroners Office:

Stockport Coroners – Coroner’s Court, Mount Tabor, Mottram Street, Stockport, SK1 3PA.
Tel: 0161 474 3993
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 08.30 to 16:30 & Fri 08:00 to 16:00

Manchester Coroners – Manchester City Coroner’s Office, PO Box 32, Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA
Tel: 0161 219 2222
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm

Cheshire Coroners – The West Annexe, Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1UH
For cases in the Crewe are: Tel. 01925 442481 / 01925 442479
For cases in the Macclesfield area: Tel. 01925 442478 / 01925 442483
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 8.00am – 4.00pm