HM Coroner is an independent judicial officer holding office under the Crown. Every coroner is local to a jurisdiction, funded by the local council, but independent of council, police, hospitals and Welsh Government.
In certain circumstances, HM Coroner may decide to hold an inquest into the death. He or she will usually give the undertakers an Order of Burial form or Certificate for Cremation form, so that the funeral can take place. They may also issue interim death certificates to relatives to allow the deceased's financial affairs to be sorted out. The death will not be registered until the inquest has taken place and a verdict has been reached. After the inquest, the coroner will provide the registrar with the relevant paperwork. Once the registration has taken place (for which an informant is not required), certified copies of the entry, i.e. death certificates, can be purchased from the registrar.
Inquests usually take place at the court in the Civic Centre (see address below). The court does have wheelchair access. Those attending court who have special requirements, e.g. translating services, must contact the coroner's officers well in advance of the hearing. All inquests are open to the public and to the press, unless there is an issue of national security.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding Orders ("DOLS")
In simple terms the Manager (Responsible Person) in the Care Home needs to notify the Coroners Officer of the death (even natural) of any resident subject to a DOLS.
A GP cannot issue a MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) because where the deceased is subject to a DOLS the Registrar of Death will refuse to register without reference to the Coroner. GPs please use the Death Report Form which should be emailed to the Coroners Officer as soon as possible. Delays in notifying the Coroner will unfortunately lead to delays in the funeral arrangements.
Hospitals are aware of the reporting procedures and electronic notification is in the process of being agreed with ABMU HB.
The Chief Coroner has issued guidance on the application on DOLS which is linked to at the bottom of this page.
Summary of guidance
- Deaths of all patients who are subject to DOLS are reportable to the Coroner
- This should include those where the DOLS authorisation was in a care home but the death was in hospital
- There must be an inquest but this may be on the papers without calling oral evidence.
- There is no requirement for a jury or an Article 2 inquest where the death is from natural causes.
- The validity of a DOLS authorisation cannot be challenged in the Coroner's Court.
From Monday 3 April 2017 the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 was amended so that people subject to authorisations under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (known as DoLS) will no longer be considered to be 'otherwise in state detention' for the purposes of Section 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
The effect of this is that for any death that occurs on or after the 3rd April and where the deceased was subject to a DoLS authorisation the coroner will no longer have a duty to conduct an inquest in all cases. This change will also apply in other cases where the deceased their deprivation of liberty authorised through provisions in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The change in the law will not apply to any death that occurred before Monday 3 April 2017 and inquests will still be required in those cases. Such deaths should be reported to the coroner in all cases even where the report is made after the 3rd April.
For any person with a DoLS authorisation or other deprivation of liberty authorisation under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 who dies on the 3rd April, or any time after, their death need only be reported to the coroner where the cause of death is unknown or where there are concerns that the cause of death was unnatural or violent, including where there is any concern about the care given having contributed to the persons death.
For more information on coroner services please see the Coroner Services Guides at this link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-coroner-services-and-coroner-investigations-a-short-guide
GP Death Reporting
We appreciate completed death referral forms (for use by GPs only) being emailed to Death.Reports@swansea.gov.uk as this can help speed up our processes and thereby help the bereaved.
Death referral form for GPs is attached below.
The acting senior coroner
Mr Colin Phillips
HM Coroner for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
Telephone: 01792 636237
Fax: 01792 636603
DX: 743540 Swansea 22
Mr Aled Gruffydd and Mr Paul Bennett
Telephone: 01792 636237
The direct telephone number of the Coroners Officers is: 01792 636505
At times of exceptional demand when the officers are engaged on other calls or absent from the office please leave a voicemail message with your contact details and the nature of the enquiry and someone will get back to you as soon as practicable.
Alternatively please email: CoronersOfficeWestern@south-wales.pnn.police.uk.
If your message is urgent and you need to speak to someone please ring the general office on 01792 636505 and a member of the administrative staff may be able to help
Office opening hours
Telephone: 01792 636237
Monday to Friday 9.00am - 4.00pm
This office does not operate out of hours.
If there is an emergency out of hours, South Wales PoliceOpens new window may contact HM Coroner personally.