Coroners record and investigate sudden, unexpected and violent deaths. Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for North Wales (East and Central) covering Denbighshire, Conwy, Wrexham and Flintshire, is Mr John Gittins LL.B (Hons) Solicitor.
Not all deaths are reported to the coroner, in most cases, a GP or hospital doctor can issue a Medical Certificate of the cause of death so that it can be registered by the registrar.
When is a coroner involved?
A death should be reported to the coroner when a doctor knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that the death:
- Occurred as a result of poisoning, the use of a controlled drug, medicinal product, or toxic chemical;
- Occurred as a result of trauma, violence or physical injury, whether inflicted intentionally or otherwise;
- Is related to any treatment or procedure of a medical or similar nature;
- Occurred as a result of self-harm, (including a failure by the deceased person to preserve their own life) whether intentional or otherwise;
- Occurred as a result of injury or disease received during, or attributable to, the course of the deceased person’s work;
- Occurred as a result of a notifiable accident, poisoning, or disease;
- Occurred as a result of neglect or failure of care by another person;
- Was otherwise unnatural.
The coroner should also be informed where:
- The death occurred in custody or otherwise in state detention – of whatever cause;
- No attending practitioner attended the deceased at any time in the 14 days prior to death or no attending practitioner is available within a reasonable period to prepare an MCCD;
- The identity of the deceased is unknown;
- The cause of death is unknown.
When a death has been reported to the coroner the registrar must wait for the coroner to finish his enquiries before the death can be registered. These enquiries may take time, so it is always best to contact the coroner’s office before any funeral arrangements are made.
What does the coroner do?
Coroners will look to establish the medical cause of death. If the cause remains in doubt after a post mortem, an inquest will be held. If the examination shows death to have been a natural one, there may be no need for an inquest and the coroner will send a form to the registrar of deaths so that the death can be registered by the relatives and a certificate of burial issued by the registrar.
An inquest is held to record:
- Who the deceased was
- When, where and how he or she came by the medical cause of death
When a conclusion is reached, the coroner records the details needed for the registration of the death.
An inquest does not determine any question of civil liability or criminal liability on the part of a named person.
There are no coroner inquests scheduled at the moment.
Registration of Deaths
If the coroner decides that it is necessary for an inquest to be held, then the death will not be registered until the inquest has been completed, however an Interim Death Certificate will be issued by the coroner pending full registration.
At the conclusion of the inquest the coroner will register the death with the registrar for the area where the death occurred. The register offices for North Wales (East and Central) are:
The Coroner's Office
You can contact the Coroner's Office using the details below:
HM Coroner’s Office
Telephone number: 01824 708 047