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What happens when deaths referred to the coroner? June 27, 2022

Where the cause of death is unexplained, sudden, due to an accident or violent or if the deceased was not seen by the certifying doctor either after death or within 14 days before the death, the death will be reported to HM Coroner.

The coroner will then assess the different aspects and decide if any further investigation is required. Unfortunately, if the coroner decides that further investigation is required, the registrar of births and deaths cannot register the deaths until this investigation has been completed.

This investigation may take time, for instance if there is to be an inquest, so be prepared for a wait. However, you should get in contact with the funeral director anyway as soon as possible. This can mean that you can get most arrangements in place and then when the inquest is concluded you are in a much better position to proceed with a funeral.

Process for deaths referred to HM Coroner:

If the cause of death is clear

No further investigation required

The coroner will ask the hospital doctor, GP or another doctor known to the deceased to issue a cause of death certificate (this does not always mean that the doctor needs to be present at death but usually requires the doctor to have seen the deceased within the final 14 days of life and know a cause of death).

When this happens, the family will collect the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) from the doctor or hospital and proceed with registering the death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

If the deceased’s wishes were for a cremation, the family or funeral director will need to obtain Cremation Forms 4 and 5 from the doctor or hospital (at a cost of £164). The registrar will then issue the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (known as the Green Form).

IF the cause of death is unclear

Post-mortem examination

The coroner will usually undertake a post-mortem in the case of any investigation. If the coroner deems that the death was due to natural causes, the Coroner will release the body and issue the paperwork for the funeral.

The family will not collect a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) from the doctor or hospital – instead, the coroner will provide details of where and when to register the death. If the body is released with no inquest, the coroner will send a form (also known as the Pink form) to the registrar.

For cremations, the coroner will issue Cremation Form 6, which means there is no need to obtain (and pay for) Cremation Forms 4 and 5. The coroner will also issue Cremation Form 11 (‘Certificate After Post-Mortem Examination’) which will need to be submitted to the crematorium.

Coroner’s Inquest

If the post-mortem examination proves inconclusive, the coroner will open an inquest to establish the cause of death. In order to prevent funeral delays, the coroner often provides an interim death certificate to the family in order to release the body before the inquest is completed.

The family will not go to register the death, as the registrar cannot issue a death certificate until the investigation has been completed.

When the coroner’s inquest has been completed the coroner will notify the registrar so that the death can be registered by the registrar. The family can then obtain copies of the death certificate from the registrar.

Are you looking for a funeral director in Ripley, Crich or the surrounding Derbyshire areas? Please contact us to see if we could help.

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