Reporting a death to the coroner

Guidance on reporting a death to the coroner

All deaths must be reported to the coroner unless the death can be certified by a registered medical practitioner where the criteria in Section 22 of the Birth Deaths and Registrations Act 1953 is met, in that the medical practitioner is:

1.         Satisfied to the best of their knowledge and belief that they can state the correct cause of death and

2.         The cause of death is wholly natural and

3.         That they attended the deceased in their last illness and either

a)         that attendance was within the preceding 28 days of death or

b)         the deceased has been viewed after death.



The cause of death which the medical practitioner wishes to give must also be of a form acceptable to the Registrar General, for which the medical profession will have received separate guidance.  Medical practitioners should always refer to the Cause of Death List issued by the Royal College of Pathologists June 2020 when completing the MCCD and the guidance given.


Notification of Death Regulations 2019

A death must be reported to the coroner in accordance with the Notification of Death Regulations 2019, which came into effect on 1st October 2019.

The circumstances where the duty to notify the coroner of a death is set out in Regulation 3, where the registered medical practitioner suspects that the death was due to:

  1. Poisoning, including by an otherwise benign substance
  2. Exposure to or contact with a toxic substance
  3. The use of a medicinal product, controlled drug or psychoactive substance
  4. Violence
  5. Trauma or injury
  6. Self-harm
  7. Neglect, including self-neglect
  8. The person undergoing a treatment or procedure of a medical or similar nature; or
  9. An injury or disease attributable to any employment held by the person during the person’s lifetime
  10. The registered medical practitioner suspects that the person’s death was unnatural but does not fall within (1) – (9) above
  11. The attending medical practitioner consider the cause of death is unknown
  12. The deceased died in custody or otherwise state detention
  13. There is no attending medical practitioner to sign the certificate of cause of death
  14. The attending medical practitioner is not available within a reasonable time to sign the certificate of cause of death
  15. The identity of the deceased is unknown. 


The death referral to the coroner must be made in writing in accordance with Regulation 4 of the Notification of Death Regulations 2019.  All deaths are reported to HM Coroner’s Service Cumbria via the electronic portal introduced in 2018.