Coroners inquire into violent or unnatural deaths, sudden deaths of unknown cause, and deaths which have occurred in custody or state detention. A coroner’s authority to inquire lows from the report of a body being within the coroner’s district and not from where the death occurred. The coroner’s inquiries may take one of several forms and may result in the holding of an inquest.
It is a coroner’s duty at an inquest to establish who the deceased was and how, when and where the deceased came by his or her death. After an inquest the coroner will send the necessary details to the registrar of births and deaths for the death to be registered when it occurred in England and Wales.
An inquest is not permitted to determine or appear to determine criminal liability by a named person or civil liability. It is about what happened, not who was responsible for what happened, for which the civil and criminal courts have jurisdiction.