Making Arrangements

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Certifying death

Arrangements may not be finalised until the death has been appropriately certified and registered or authorisation has been received from the Coroner.

A GP or hospital doctor will confirm that death has occurred. If a doctor has examined the person in the previous 28 days, knows the cause of death and is satisfied that it is due to natural causes, a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (often called “Death Certificate”) can be issued.

You will need the Death Certificate to register the death, so you must keep it safe. Check that the details on it – the name, date of birth, address, etc – are correct. This will help to avoid delays at the Registrar’s Office.

Sometimes there are circumstances concerning a death which require the involvement of the Coroner.

Coroner Information

For legal reasons, a death sometimes needs to be referred to the Coroner. This includes when:

  • A doctor did not see or treat the person in the 28 days before they died
  • The cause of death was sudden, violent or unnatural, such as an accident, assault or suicide
  • The cause of death was an industrial disease (for example asbestosis)
  • The death occurred in other circumstances that may require investigation

The Coroner will consider the information that the doctor provides and make one of the following decisions:

  • The doctor can issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  • The doctor must complete a Coroner’s pro-forma and forward it to the Coroner’s office
  • A post-mortem examination is required to find out the cause of death

If the Coroner orders a post-mortem examination, consent from the next-of-kin is not required. The Coroner’s decision has to be accepted. A Coroner’s Liaison Officer will contact you to inform you of the initial post-mortem findings and let you know when your loved one’s remains will be released. You must not finalise arrangements until you have the Coroner’s permission. We will then obtain the necessary form which permits burial or cremation.