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Register a death

Deaths referred to the coroner

Sometimes a death will be referred to the Coroner's Office, but usually only if:

  • The cause of death is unknown
  • The cause of death is unnatural; or
  • The deceased was in state detention, for example police custody, at the time of their death.

The police, hospital bereavement services, individual GPs and hospice doctors will refer a death to the Coroner when necessary. They will provide the Coroner with information about the death, the identity of the deceased and their next of kin (if known).

A member of the Coroner's staff will contact the deceased's next of kin in the days following the referral to:

  • Update them as to the Coroner's enquiries
  • Discuss any concerns they may have in relation to the cause of death; and
  • Offer guidance through the Coronial process

In certain cases a doctor may be able to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and, following the Coroner making initial enquiries, no further investigations will be required and the relevant paperwork will be issued to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the area where the deceased died and the death can be registered.

However, if a doctor cannot say what the likely cause of death was or did not treat the deceased during their last illness, the Coroner will decide as to what investigations, such as a post mortem examination or Coroner's Inquest, are needed and the next of kin will be updated.

For more information please visit:

Who can register a death?

The person who registers the death is formally known as the 'the informant'. Only relatives or certain other individuals are qualified by law to register a death. This will also depend on where the death occurred.

Most deaths are registered by a family member or one of the following people:

  • a relative of the deceased, present at the death;
  • a relative of the deceased, in attendance during the last illness;
  • a relative of the deceased, residing or being in the sub-district where the death occurred; in the case of an out of district declaration, the relative is deemed to be in the sub-district where the death took place at the time of giving the information for the declaration;
  • a person present at the death;
  • the occupier of the house if he/she knew that the death had happened;
  • any inmate of the house if he/she knew that the death had happened;or
  • the person causing the burial or cremation of the body


What documents will I need?


When registering a death, the Registrar will receive electronically from the Dr the:

  • Medical certificate of the cause of death (signed by a doctor)

Do not collect this document yourself if you are asked to do so, please refer the surgery back to the Registrar

If available, identification belonging to the person who has died, for example:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Utility bill

You should also bring along documents which will prove your identity as well such as;

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Utility bill 
  • Bank statement

If you cannot provide any of the documents above, please still attend your appointment.


You will need to tell the registrar:

  • The person's full name at time of death
  • Any names previously used, including maiden surname
  • The person's date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad)
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • If they were getting a state pension or any other state benefit

Please check carefully before signing the register to ensure the information recorded in the death register is correct. If any mistakes are made, you will need to apply to the General Register Office (GRO) for any amendments. The amendments, if allowed by the GRO, will be added onto the record as a note in the margin - the original records will not be altered. The GRO charges a fee of £90 for consideration of corrections. 

If English is not your first language and help is needed, a relative or friend may act as an interpreter - please let us know if this is the case so that we allow extra time for the appointment.

What documents will I receive?

After a death has been registered, the registrar will issue:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (green form), giving permission for the body to be buried or to apply for the body to be cremated will be sent by the registrar to the relevant burial or cremation authority
  • Certified copies of the death registration (death certificate) - please note there is a fee of £11 per copy of certificate
  • Tell Us Once registration form, quoting a unique reference number to use if you would like to use the Tell Us Once service

Order copy certificates

You can buy copies of certificates for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships which took place in St.Helens.


Type of service

CostAvailabilityPostageAdditional Information

Service available between 10.00am and 3.00pm Monday to Friday

Additional postage fees apply

One certificate posted out 2nd-class postage on or before 15 working days

*Multiple certificates attract multiple fees

We recommend you purchase secure postage using 1st class, signed-for delivery for any certificate being posted

This is charged at an additional £3.00 and ensures your certificate is tracked and traced through to delivery. 

Special delivery:

£10.00, weight up to 500g (UK return addresses only - a special signed-for service).

Priority£35.00Service available between 10.00am and 3.00pm, Monday to Friday

One certificate posted out 1st-class postage before the next working day

*Multiple certificates attract multiple fees

As above
Overseas   Prices vary dependent upon destination



St Helens Register Office is not liable for any certificates lost or delayed in the post.

The Register Office service point is currently based at Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1HF.

Telephone: 01744 676789




Make an appointment


You do not need to ring us to make an appointment.

GP surgeries will send any paperwork relating to the death, by email to our Register Office and this will include the details of the next of kin.

You will be contacted by our Registrars team to arrange your appointment once the medical certificate of cause of death has been received.

Appointment times are between the hours of 9.00am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.




Dealing with a death

For more information about dealing with a death - please visit our 'What to do when someone dies' section

Please use Life Ledger a free to use service to close, freeze or transfer all your loved one's accounts from one place.