A death must be reported to the coroner

Reporting a death to the coroner In certain cases doctors are required to report deaths to the coroner. In general this is when there is something violent, unnatural, unexpected or suspicious about the death

(see below for more details).

When a death is reported to the coroner, the body cannot be buried or cremated until the coroner has made an order for the disposal of the body.
When it is not necessary to report the death to the coroner, a doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and the burial or cremation of the body can then go ahead. When must a death be reported to the coroner ?

• if it was unnatural or violent (for example, a drowning, a car accident or poisoning)

• if the cause of death is unknown

• if the death was suicide

• if no Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued

• if the person died while under anaesthetic or during a medical operation or procedure, or if the death appears to have been caused by the anaesthetic, operation or procedure

• if the person died in prison or in Police custody

• if the person died in a state institution, such as a psychiatric hospital or children’s home.