There are a number of reasons why a death may have to be referred to the coroner and under such circumstances special procedures may be necessary.
However, these should not give cause for any undue alarm.
The coroner is a judicial officer, quite independent of local and central government, who is required to act in accordance with certain laws. Any
sudden or unexplained death must be reported to the coroner, whose duty it is to ascertain the cause of death and to investigate any unusual circumstances.
Sometimes the coroner is able to ascertain by simple inquiry whether the death was due to natural causes and that there is a doctor able to issue a death
certificate. The death is then registered, adopting the procedures shown under REGISTRATION. If this is not the case, the coroner may require a post
mortem examination to take place.
This will normally indicate that the death was due to natural causes, and in such cases there is no inquest. The coroner sends a certificate to the registrar so
that the death can be registered. If a cremation is the wish of the family, the coroner will issue an additional form to the funeral director.
If the death is not due to natural causes (for example a traffic accident), the coroner is obliged to hold an inquest. This inquiry is to ascertain and determine:
1) The identity of the deceased
2) When, where and how the death occurred
3) The cause of death
Following the inquest, the coroner will issue a certificate for burial or cremation. In certain cases, the coroner may adjourn the inquest after having established the aforementioned facts. A certificate will then be issued to enable the funeral to take place and the inquest is reopened, sometimes after several
weeks, in order to gather relevant information relating to the death.
We (the funeral directors) are fully conversant with the likely causes for referral to the coroner and will be able to advise you of any action that may be necessary.