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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.

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