Births, marriages, deaths and nationality When death occurs

How long will it take?

We understand that relatives are often anxious to register the death and arrange the funeral.  Our service, together with our colleagues at hospitals and mortuaries, works hard to allow this as soon as possible.  These are our standard timescales:

  • When a death is reported to the Coroner, it will be allocated to an Officer for management.  Reports received before 9am will be allocated the same day.  Reports received after this time will be allocated on the same day if possible, or on the following day.
  • Natural deaths that do not require a post mortem examination will be handled and the body released to the funeral director within 24 hours of allocation.
  • When a post mortem is needed, we will call to inform you.  Our next step is to order a summary of the deceased's medical history from their GP.  This helps the pathologist interpret their findings, and we cannot order a post mortem without it.  We rely on the GP surgery providing this promptly, and know that some surgeries close on a Wednesday afternoon.  It takes 5-7 working days from the point we receive the GP summary, to be able to call you with the results of the post mortem.
  • If the post mortem shows a natural cause of death, we can release the body at the same time we tell you the results.  If it shows an unnatural cause, or if we are waiting for lab results to clarify the cause, we need to have the body formally identified before we release it and this usually takes an extra day.

In time-sensitive situations, such as the deaths of children or where tissue donation is planned, we will do our best to release the body well within these timescales, provided that the Coroner's legal requirements are satisfied.

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