The coroner is an independent person responsible for holding investigations and inquests into when
- a death was violent or unnatural
- the cause of death is unknown
- or the person died in prison, police custody or another type of state detention
Although appointed and paid for by local councils, the coroner is not a local government officer but holds office under the Crown.
If the coroner has arranged to hold a post-mortem, the death cannot be registered until the coroner has sent the registrar the details of the cause of death.
After the post mortem has been held, the coroner's officer will contact the family, notify them of the results and will advise them to contact the register office to book an appointment - allowing time for the coroner to send details to the register office first.
If there is to be a cremation, the relevant forms required by the crematorium will be issued by the coroner. If there is to be a burial, the registrar will usually issue the relevant paperwork at the time that the registration is made.
If there has been an inquest, the registrar will register the death on information provided by the coroner and there will be no need for anyone to attend the register office to make a registration. The coroner will provide the registrar with the name and address of the next of kin and the registrar will write to them to advise that a registration has been made.