What does a coroner do?

Coroners are appointed by the Governor-General to investigate sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths. The role of the coroner is to establish when, where, how and why the death occurred.

When does a death need to be reported to the coroner?

If the death occurred because of any of the following circumstances the Police or medical professionals may call the coroner:

  • A violent or unnatural cause (e.g. drowning, a car crash, poisoning);
  • The cause of death is unknown;
  • The person dies in prison;
  • The person dies “in care” (e.g. in a psychiatric hospital or children’s home);
  • The person appears to have taken their own life; or
  • The person dies during or following a medical procedure.

When does a coroner release a body?

Usually after 24 hours following any post-mortem. It may take 2-3 days if the death is suspicious or if the medical examination is complicated.


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