Which deaths are referred to the Coroner?

Approximately half of all deaths in England and Wales are referred to HM Coroner. Referrals happen for a variety of reasons.

A death should be referred if;

  • The death was due to poisoning including by an otherwise benign substance
  • The death was due to exposure to, or contact with a toxic substance
  • The death was due to the use of a medicinal product, the use of a controlled drug or psychoactive substance
  • The death was due to violence, trauma or injury
  • The death was due to self-harm
  • The death was due to neglect, including self-neglect
  • The death was due to a person undergoing any treatment or procedure of a medical or similar nature
  • The death was due to an injury or disease attributable to any employment held by the person during the person’s lifetime
  • The person’s death was unnatural but does not fall within any of the above circumstances
  • The cause of death is unknown
  • The registered medical practitioner suspects that the person died while in custody or otherwise in state detention
  • There was no attending registered medical practitioner, and there is no other registered medical practitioner to sign a medical certificate cause of death in relation to the deceased person
  • Neither the attending medical practitioner, nor any other medical practitioner able to sign the medical certificate cause of death, is available within a reasonable time of the person’s death to sign the certificate of cause of death
  • The identity of the deceased person is unknown.

If there is any doubt the Coroner’s Office should be contacted for further advice. If you are unsure why your relative’s death has been reported please call us and a Coroner’s Officer will discuss it with you.

Reports are made mainly by doctors and the Police. Upon receipt of a death report the Coroner will review the information and decide what should be done. Please see the side navigation for the various possibilities.