Coroners' forms and investigation process explained
What coroners' forms are available, how do they fit into to the whole process, what is their purpose, who receives them and why?
Those who have regular contact with the coronial service will be familiar with the references to Pink and Beige forms, Forms A and B, Form 99 and the Record of Inquest, but how do they fit into to the whole process, what is their purpose, who receives them and why?
The steps involved in deciding whether to investigate a death
Once a death is reported to a coroner, he or she must decide what to do next. There are various steps that can be taken which will determine whether the coroner decides that the duty to investigate the death, as set out in Section 1 Coroners and Justice Act 2009, applies or not.
- The coroner may decide, without a post mortem, that the duty does not apply and no further action (NFA) is required. Form 100 A (pink, or sometimes peach or beige form!) will be completed and sent to the registrar so that the registration of death process can be completed.
- The coroner may decide that a post mortem should be conducted, to assist the coroner with the decision as to whether the duty to investigate applies. Whilst awaiting the outcome of the post mortem, and having decided that no further tests on the body are required, the coroner can issue a Burial Order or Cremation Form 6 and send a slip to the registrar to that effect.
- If, following the completion of all relevant tests and investigations, the coroner decides to discontinue the investigation, the coroner can issue a Cremation Form 6 if required, and also complete Form 100B (pink form) which notifies the registrar that a post mortem has taken place but no further action is being undertaken by the coroner.
- Alternatively, the coroner, whether or not a post mortem examination has been ordered and performed, may decide that the duty to investigate does apply and formally opens in court an inquest into the death. At that hearing, the coroner will decide what further investigations, if any, are required, set a date for a pre-inquest review, if required, or set a date for the full inquest hearing. If the body is no longer required, the coroner may issue a Burial Order or Cremation Form 6.
What happens when the coroner completes their inquest?
Upon completion of the inquest, the Record of Inquest is drawn up, with the completion of the 5 boxes answering the statutory questions as set out in Section 5(1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and fulfilling the requirements of the registration acts. This document is provided to the family and will assist with any administrative functions arising from the death and dealing with the estate.
Form 99, Certificate after Inquest, is also completed, incorporating the details within the Record of Inquest, and other statutory details required by the registrar, to whom it is sent, in order to register the death.
Video guide to inquests and the coroner's court
Watch our free video guide on how to prepare and what to expect in the coroner's court.Watch the video guide
For support and guidance on any matters relating to inquests and coronial law, contact our inquest solicitors.