In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Coroner’s role

This information is primarily for those living in the U.K. (in particular England & Wales) 



In England and Wales a coroner is a judicial officer (usually a solicitor by profession), appointed to a specific territorial district having responsibility for investigating those deaths that are sudden of unknown cause, as well as those that are violent or unnatural or occur in prison. 

  1. About 38% of deaths are reported to the coroner 
  1. A death is referred to the coroner if death occurs: 
  • If the deceased person was not attended by a doctor during his last illness or within 14 days of death 
  • If the cause of death is uncertain 
  • If death was sudden, violent or caused by an accident 
  • If death was caused by industrial disease 
  1. Strictly speaking, the law requires that the attending doctor should complete the medical certificate MCCD) even when a death has been referred to the coroner, but in practice this does not happen. 
  1. Legally the coroner can only certify the cause of death if he has investigated it through autopsy, inquest or both. 
  1. The coroner will probably arrange for an autopsy (post-mortem examination) of the body to try to ascertain the cause of death. The coroner does not need consent of the next of kin to carry out a post-mortem, but the relatives can choose a doctor to be present at the post-mortem. 
  1. After the autopsy has been performed the coroner’s office may issue pink form B (form 100, also called part ‘B’), this is a substitute for the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD). The pink form B is signed by the pathologist working for the coroner’s office. The coroner may send the pink form B directly to the Registrar for deaths or you may need to collect it from the coroner’s office to take to the Registrar yourself. The pink form B allows you to register the death 
  1. If after the autopsy (post-mortem examination), the cause of death is uncertain or was due to an accident, violence, or industrial disease then an inquest will be held. An inquest is an inquiry into the medical cause and circumstances of death. It is held in public and is sometimes with the jury. It is up to the coroner how to organise the inquiry in a way to best serve the public interest and the interest of the relatives. 
  1. If the coroner requires an inquest usually after an autopsy, a formal opening of the inquest will take place after which an order for burial will be issued. The coroner may open an inquest to investigate the death but give permission for burial to take place by issuing order for burial (form 101) often before the inquest commences. The order of burial does not require registration. 
  2. The coroner is required to conclude inquest proceedings within six months of date of death unless there are justifiable reasons for going beyond this timetable.