What if a death is sent to a coroner?

The Coroner's office

Deaths due to natural disease or illness

The coroner's office will issue a certificate giving the cause of death. They will send it to the registrar once the enquiries have finished. The coroner's office will let you know when you can register the death.

Where cause of death is unclear

The doctor, hospital or registrar will report the death to the coroner. There will be a delay before you can register the death while the coroner holds an inquest.

Find out more about the coroners office.


An inquest is not a trial, it is an enquiry to find out who the deceased was and how, when and where they died.

A coroner will order an inquest on a deaths which:

  • appear to be due to violence or neglect
  • are unnatural
  • are sudden and of unknown cause
  • have happened in legal custody

The coroner will give you an interim death certificate. This is so you can deal with the estate. They will tell you how to get the full certificate when they have finished the inquest.

The coroner will keep information as confidential as possible. The system is based on public court hearings. The coroner can explain the reasons why they cannot keep some information confidential. This is as long as you have a right to know.

View more about inquests on the NHS website.

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