Coronial inquests

Information about reporting certain deaths to the coroner.

Some deaths must be reported to the coroner for further investigation and to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances.

A death may be reported to the coroner in the following circumstances:

  • when the death was unexpected
  • where the death was violent or unnatural, for example, as a result of a homicide or suicide
  • where the death resulted from an accident or injury
  • where the death occurred during or following a health- related procedure
  • if the person had not been attended by a doctor in the last six months
  • when the person cannot be identified
  • if the death happened while the person was in custody of a law enforcement authority
  • if the person was receiving care from a mental health facility.

The State Coroner has a duty to investigate and determine a cause of death for reportable deaths which happen in NSW. For more information, see NSW Coroners Court.

The coronial investigation period can delay the process of arranging a funeral. If there is a coronial investigation, the hospital has a responsibility to store the deceased's body in a morgue until the coroner issues an order for burial.

The body may be released for burial or cremation once an investigation is completed, and a cause of death is determined, or it may be released before the coronial inquest is complete. Once the body is released, the executor or next of kin make funeral arrangements.

Legal Aid NSW can give advice on Coronial inquest matters.

There are also many support services for family and friends. For more information, see Help and support on the NSW Coroners Court website.