There may be a time where you may need to refer to your local coroner in the circumstances of a patient’s death. If this is the case you may find the information below useful.
Confirmation and Certification of Death and Legal Requirements
English law does not require a doctor to confirm death has occurred or view the body of a deceased person. However, English law requires the doctor who attended the deceased during the last illness to issue a certificate detailing the cause of death to the Registrar of Births and Deaths.
The doctor is required to notify the cause of death as a certificate, on a form prescribed, stating to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, the cause of death. It should be noted that the strict interpretation of the law is that the doctor shall notify the cause of death, not the fact. Thus, a doctor does not certify that death has occurred, only what in his or her opinion was the cause, assuming that death has taken place.
Coroners’ Court Fees and Allowances
Doctors may be called by a Coroner to give evidence at an inquest either as a professional or an expert witness, or as a pathologist who undertook the post-mortem. If you have been called to a Coroner’s Court then you may claim for allowances, travel expenses and witness fees. For more information on the Coroner’s allowances, fees and expenses regulations please visit: The Coroners Allowances, Fees and Expenses Regulations 2013
For more information and related documents relating to Coroner’s please see below:
- Advice & Support
- Advice & Guidance
|9656||Confirmation and Certification of Death|
|9662||Guidance for doctors completing Medical Certificates of Cause of Death in England and Wales|
|9663||Professional Witness Expense Form|
Patients who die while subject to an authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) no longer require automatic referral to the coroners.
From the 3rd April 2017, it will no longer be necessary to refer all patients who die while subject to an authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) to the coroner.
Before that date, patients who died subject to DoLS were regarded as dying while in state detention, triggering an automatic requirement for an inquest. From Monday the 3rd of April the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 will be amended so that coroners will no longer be under a duty to investigate a death solely because the individual was subject to the DoLS at the time. These deaths will only require reporting to the coroner if the cause of death was unknown, or where the cause of death was violent or unnatural.