Sudden or Unexpected Death

Handling Unexpected Deaths

If someone dies unexpectedly, emergency services may have been notified and could have attended the address.

After an initial investigation at the address which may involve the police they will arrange for the deceased to be taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or the Princess Royal Hospital Telford, or possibly directly into our care if we have been requested by the Police to attend.

Another example is where the doctor who had been treating the person before they died reports it directly to the coroner if they deem their passing to have been sudden or unexpected.

Send an Enquiry
Sudden or Unexpected Death

Coroner's Investigation

In either case, the coroner’s office will then conduct an investigation into the cause of death. The Coroner's officers will review all information before deciding if they require a pathologist to examine the deceased by means of a post-mortem examination. If the result of the post-mortem examination shows the death to have been due to natural causes, the coroner will issue the medical certificate of cause of death and this will be sent directly to the Registrar of Births and Deaths.

The Coroner’s office will advise you once the medical certificate of cause of death has been issued and you may then make an appointment to register the death and continue with the funeral arrangements.



If after the coroner’s initial investigation, they decide the death was not due to natural causes they will hold an inquest. An inquest is an inquiry to determine exactly how a death occurred. If an inquest is deemed necessary then registration of the death is not possible until the coroner’s inquest has been concluded.

An inquest is a fact-finding investigation and is not a trial. It is an inquiry to establish who the deceased was and how, where and when they died. The length of the inquest will vary according to the circumstances in each individual case.

During an inquest the death cannot be registered, however, the Coroner will normally issue an Interim Death Certificate to permit a burial or cremation so the funeral can take place. The family will be informed of the progress of the investigation by the Coroner’s Officers and will have the opportunity to ask questions at the inquest.

Once the inquest is completed, the death is registered automatically and the death certificates can be purchased from the Registrar.