The Coroner’s Role

The Coroner is an independent judicial officer appointed by the crown.

The Coroner is responsible for investigating:

  • Violent or unnatural deaths
  • Sudden deaths with no known cause
  • Deaths which have occurred whilst a patient was undergoing surgery, or did not recover from an anaesthetic
  • Deaths caused by an industrial disease
  • Deaths in police custody or in prison

In particular, the Coroner must be informed if the deceased was not attended by a doctor during the last illness; or the doctor treating the deceased had not seen him or her within the 14 days before death.

How the Coroner speaks with the relatives of the person who died

The coroner has a team of officers who receive reports of deaths, make enquiries, and keep relatives informed.  You’ll speak to these officers when you contact the Coroner.  Your funeral arranger will also be in constant contact with the Coroner’s office to keep you informed.

Whatever the Coroner decides, the next of kin will be told what will happen.

An inquest is a legal proceeding held by the Coroner to find out:

  • Who died
  • When they died
  • Where they died
  • How they died

The Coroner’s officers will guide you through the entire process.