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When a death is reported to a coroner

If a death is reported to a coroner, the documents you need to register the death may be different. The coroner will decide either:

  • the cause of death is clear
  • that a post-mortem is needed
  • to hold an inquest

The cause of death is clear

If the coroner decides that the cause of death is clear:

  1. They’ll issue a certificate to the registrar saying that a post-mortem or inquest is not needed.
  2. The registrar will register the death.

A post-mortem is needed

The coroner may decide a post-mortem is needed to find out how the person died. This can be done either in a hospital or mortuary.

You cannot object to a coroner’s post-mortem – but if you’ve asked the coroner must tell you (and the person’s GP) when and where the examination will take place.

After the post-mortem

The coroner will release the body for a funeral once they have completed the post-mortem examinations and no further examinations are needed.

If the body is released with no inquest, the coroner will send a form (‘Pink Form – form 100B’) to the registrar stating the cause of death.

The coroner will also send a ‘Certificate of Coroner – form Cremation 6’ if the body is to be cremated.

The coroner holds an inquest

A coroner must hold an inquest if:

  • the cause of death is still unknown
  • the person might have died a violent or unnatural death
  • the person might have died in prison or police custody

Death certificates

If you need proof of the death while you wait for the inquest to finish, ask the coroner for an interim death certificate.

Once the inquest is over, you can get the final death certificate from the registrar.

You can use either certificate to:

  • apply for probate
  • report the death to more than one government organisation using Tell Us Once – the registrar can help you to do this

More information can be found on the Government website here: