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Sudden Death and the Coroner

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4. When can a death be registered?


When a coroner’s enquiries, with or without a post mortem, satisfy the coroner that a death was not unnatural the coroner will inform the reporting doctor and the Registrar of Births and Deaths that an inquest is not required. The Registrar will then register the death using the reporting doctor’s Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death, usually given to relatives, or if there is a post mortem, the pathologist’s post mortem findings which must be provided by the coroner.


If the coroner decides the death was not natural  or if further post mortem tests are needed, an inquest will be opened for the death to be recorded and formal identification. It will then be adjourned until the coroner's or police enquiries are completed. Meanwhile, the coroner can issue an Interim Certificate of the Fact of Death, to allow personal affairs to be administered. The death cannot be registered until the coroner informs the Registrar of the outcome of the resumed and completed inquest or any criminal proceedings. When a death is registered, the Registrar will provide a certified copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths and a fee will be charged. This is the Death Certificate and additional copies should be requested at the time of registration as they will cost more if requested later.







4     There is no definition of a natural death, but it is usually regarded as a
      death caused by recognised illness or disease. An apparently natural, but

       unexpected death may be regarded as ‘not natural’ if it happened
      in threatening or neglectful circumstances.  

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