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Council Services:

Report a death to the Coroner

Coroners are officers appointed by Lincolnshire County Council to investigate sudden or unexplained deaths. They're independent of local and central government and follow set rules and procedures. For contact information, visit the Lincolnshire Coroners Service page.

A death is reported to the Coroner when:

  • the deceased was not seen by a doctor during their final illness
  • a doctor was unable to certify the death
  • a doctor has not seen the deceased within the 14 days before death
  • the cause of death is unknown
  • death occurs during an operation or before recovery from the effect of any anaesthetic
  • the death is sudden and unexplained or is in suspicious circumstances
  • the death may be due to an industrial injury or disease, an accident, violence, neglect, poisoning, illicit drugs or suicide
  • death occurs in police custody, prison or state detention
  • the death happened in a hospital within 24 hours of admission


A death is usually reported to the Coroner by a Doctor or the Registration Service. However, anyone who is concerned about a death can refer it to the Coroner.

Once a death has been reported to the Coroner, the Registration Officer cannot register the death until the Coroner has completed their investigation.

As enquiries can take some time, it's best to contact the Coroner's Office before making funeral arrangements.

The Coroner may decide:

  • no action is necessary. The Registration Service will be informed and can register the death
  • to hold a post mortem.
  • to hold an inquest. The Coroner's Officer will advise you on what to do in these circumstances

In most cases, no further investigation is necessary and the registration can be completed.

Post mortem

When a post mortem is required, the Coroner will be mindful of any views held by the Next of Kin. The coroner has a legal duty to ascertain the cause of death and, if a doctor cannot satisfy the coroner of this, a post mortem must take place.

The Coroner will usually supply a copy of the post mortem report to Properly Interested Persons, Next of Kin and legal representatives on application in writing for a fee. The current fees are £5 for up to 10 pages, plus 50 per additional page. An estimate of the fee can be provided in advance if requested.


If the Coroner decides to hold an inquest, it is a medical or legal enquiry, not a trial and helps to:

  • identify the deceased
  • discover when, where and how the death happened
  • establish the details required by the registration officer

The Coroner will open and adjourn the inquest and issue an Order for Burial or Certificate for Cremation. This allows the funeral to take place.

The Coroner will then continue the inquest at a later date which may involve summoning witnesses. The evidence of a witness may be vital in preventing an injustice and, if you do not attend as a witness when required, there may be penalties.

Deaths abroad that happen abroad

All deaths where the deceased is brought back to Lincolnshire following a death abroad should be referred to the Coroner by the Funeral Director.

For further information about deaths abroad, read our page on repatriation and exhumation or visit the government webpage on coping with death abroad.

Bereavement Guide

Lincolnshire County Council’s registration service has produced a guide to help you through the difficulty of losing a loved one.


Need an appointment?

For your convenience, you can book an appointment to register a Birth or Death online.


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Last updated: 8 February 2018

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