The Coroner is an independent judicial officer - and is either a doctor or lawyer - responsible for investigating the cause of deaths within his geographical area of responsibility. The Coroner uses his 'Coroner's officers' to liaise with you personally, regarding the death of your relative, and will guide you through matters leading to the release of the body, or to the Inquest; if one is deemed necessary.

Natural - sometimes, a death is reported to the Coroner, which, after inquiries are made (eg; with the GP/nursing staff/relatives) the Coroner is satisfied that the cause of death is known to be natural, and the death is no longer of concern to the Coroner. In this instance, the body is released, and the attending doctor may issue documents necessary for the registration of the death and the funeral to proceed. 

Expected - a death may be expected, but it may happen suddenly, when you may not expect it to. If a doctor has been treating your relative for an illness from which they are not expected to recover, then the death is deemed to be 'natural'. The Coroner will not be interested in such a case; except if the last illness was caused, or had been exacerbated by, an industrial disease or prior trauma - or within a period after surgery.

Unexpected - often very sudden - a death where no doctor had been involved in treating your relative for an illness they believed would be the final one; also: transport and workplace accidents, murder, suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, neglect, and any other environmental contribution leading to the death. Almost certainly, a post-mortem examination will take place to determine the cause of death. This knowledge can help you to come to terms with exactly what has happened.

Deaths abroad - if your relative has died outside of England and Wales, and the body is repatriated for the funeral to take place locally, the Coroner is informed of the arrival of the body within his jurisdiction. All documents accompanying the body from abroad are submitted for the Coroner's inspection and approval, or otherwise, for the funeral to proceed. We will handle this on your behalf. Statistically, only a few cases are of interest to the Coroner, and may lead to an additional autopsy and Inquest.

An Inquest - is an official, usually public, inquiry held to determine the medical cause of death and the circumstances surrounding the death; in some cases the Inquest may be held before a jury.

Exhumation - the Coroner is able to order the exhumation of a body from a grave where he suspects further investigation may provide fresh evidence regarding a cause of death, for instance. 

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