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When An Inquest Is Needed
Upon every person there is a general duty to report a death to H.M. Coroner if an inquest is likely to be needed or, if one of more of the following circumstances exists; the registrar or doctor must report the death:
  • The deceased was not attended by a doctor during their last illness;
  • The cause of death is unknown;
  • The cause of death hasn't been certified by a doctor who saw the deceased after the death in person, or within 14 days prior to the death;
  • Death occurred during surgery or while under anaesthetic;
  • The cause of death was an industrial disease.
  • After an injury or accident
  • If the death is unnatural or violent - for example, accident, suicide or alcohol and drug overdose.
  • If the death was unexplained or sudden- for instance, a sudden infant death (cot death) or, adult death syndrome.


For anyone concerned about the cause of death, you can inform a coroner about it, but in the majority of cases a death will be reported to the coroner by the police or a doctor.

The coroner must hold an inquest where the death was:

  • Unnatural or violent;
  • Sudden and of unknown cause;
  • In police custody or in prison.

Where the cause of death is unknown, the coroner may order a post mortem examination in order to determine if the death was violent. An inquest is unnecessary if the death is found to be non-violent.


If the death occurred in prison or in police custody, or if it falls under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, or in the execution of a police officer's duty, a coroner must summon a jury for an inquest as it affects public health and safety.

The coroner can also call a jury at his or her own discretion, wherever they feel appropriate.

In light of the Human Rights Act 1998, this discretion has been heavily litigated, meaning that juries are required now in a broader scope of situations than expressly required by statute.

  At Exmouth & District Funeral Services, we realise that this is an unusual and difficult time for you. As such, your contact with us is a personal and professional priority. Our primary goal is to be available to you and perform the professional and caring service needed, in order to reduce the burden to you and your family.  
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Exmouth. 01395 266902
Email. info@exmouthfunerals.co.uk
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