Coroners are described as judicial officers, i.e. in some ways they are like judges but they have a particular responsibility which is the investigation of any death which is brought to their attention. This information pathway describes when and why coroners become involved after the death and what that may mean for all the other practical matters you have to cope with.

All coroners appointed now are trained lawyers and some have also trained as doctors. A senior coroner is responsible for a particular area of the country (the entire province in the case of Northern Ireland) and have assistant coroners to support them. Coroners’ officers work under the direction of a coroner and carry out much of the day to day investigation of a death and are usually the people who have most contact with bereaved families. There may be other staff such as administrators, secretaries or clerks who may answer telephones or speak with you if you have to visit the coroner’s service or attend court.

Coroners are completely independent of all other organisations to enable them to investigate any death, whatever the circumstances.