An inquest is not a trial but a fact finding inquiry held in public to establish the circumstances of a death and the medical cause.
A Coroner will hold an inquest if the cause of death is unknown, violent or unnatural, the death was caused by a disease in the workplace or the person died in prison.
There is often a delay between the death occuring and the holding of an Inquest, this can vary from just a few days up to 2 years or more after the event. During this time, the Coroner can issue an ‘interim death certificate’. This certificate can be used for many purposes, such as organising a funeral, benefits and National Insurance. Financial institutions will usually accept this certificate to close or cancel the affairs of the deceased, for example bank and savings accounts, pension schemes or insurance policies. The ‘interim death certificate’ can be arranged by contacting the Coroners office responsible for holding the Inquest.
The death cannot be registered by a Registrar until after the Inquest has taken place, at which point the Coroner will send the relevant paperwork, often called a ‘Coroners certificate after Inquest’, to the Registrar in the district where the death occurred. The Coroner will also notify the next of kin that this has been done if this person is known.
The Registrar will then register the death from the paperwork issued from the Coroner without the presence of an informant. This means that it is not necessary for anybody to visit a Register Office in order to register a death where an Inquest has been held.
Once the death has been registered by the Registrar, certified copies of the register entry (often referred to as death certificates) are available. Certificates cost £4 each and can be ordered by visiting our website, over the telephone with a debt or credit card, or in writing enclosing a cheque payable to Hampshire County Council. When applying, please explain that an Inquest has recently been held and that you now require a copy death certificate.
A certificate of registration of death (Form BD8) is also issued on behalf of the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP). This form helps the DWP to calculate any outstanding pension entitlement, if appropriate, and also provides information on the benefit entitlement of a surviving spouse. The BD8 is issued free of charge by the Registrar and only one form is issued for each registration, this is normally given to the next of kin.