When is there an inquest after a death?
An inquest is held when there is an unexpected death.
Unexpected deaths are reported to the coroner either by the doctor who attends the deceased or by the police.
What constitutes an unexpected death? Any of the following:
The doctor does not know the cause of death
The deceased died within 24 hours of going to hospital or during an operation
The deceased was not seen by a doctor during his final illness or during the 14 days before death
Where the medical certificate suggests that industrial disease or industrial poisoning was the cause of death.
What happens next? The coroner usually arranges a post mortem, which should establish the cause of death. If it is from natural causes then the death can be registered and the funeral can be held.
So an inquest usually only takes place where
The cause of death is in doubt, even after the post mortem; or
The post mortem shows the death was not from natural causes
Does an inquest hold up the funeral? Usually the coroner allows the funeral to be held after the post mortem.