Registrars must report unexpected deaths to the Coroner. It is then up to the Coroner to seek to establish the medical cause of death. If the cause remains in doubt after a post mortem, an inquest will be held.
A coroner is an independent judicial office holder, appointed and paid by the relevant local authority. A coroner must be a lawyer or a doctor, and in some cases is both.
Each coroner has a deputy and usually one or more assistant deputies, and either personally or through a deputy he or she must be available at all times. The costs of the coroners’ service are generally met by local authorities, not by central Government.
In some districts the local police force may also contribute towards a coroner’s resources, usually by providing and paying the costs of coroner’s officers.