As part of the investigation
Once the post-mortem process (including any histology or toxicology) has concluded, the coroner must decide whether to continue the investigation.
There are three main options:
∙ The post-mortem reveals that the deceased died of natural causes and the coroner thinks that it is not necessary to continue the investigation. The coroner must discontinue the investigation. No inquest will be held.
∙ The post-mortem reveals that the deceased died of natural causes but the coroner considers that it is necessary to continue the investigation. This could include cases where neglect might be a factor and the coroner wishes to test this at inquest. The coroner must then hold an inquest and must open the inquest as soon as practicable.
∙ If after the post-mortem the coroner (still) has reason to suspect that the deceased
died a violent or unnatural death, or the cause of death is unknown or the deceased died while in custody/state detention The coroner must hold an inquest and must open the inquest as soon as practicable.
Releasing the body for burial or cremation
The regulations require a coroner to release the body for burial or cremation as soon as practicable. If the coroner cannot release the body within 28 days of being made aware that the body is within his or her area then he or she must notify the known next of kin or personal representative of the deceased of the reasons for the delay.