Post-mortem examinations

A post-mortem is an examination of a body after death.

A pathologist will perform this and supply a cause of death to the coroner where possible. Sometimes further tests are needed and the Coroner's Office will discuss these with you.

You will be kept informed of the date and location of the examination.

You can't attend but you can ask for a doctor you trust to attend. You need to advise the Coroner's Office and any expenses incurred by your own doctor or pathologist will fall to you.

The pathologist will send an initial short report to the coroner on the day followed by a final report at a later date. You can request a copy of the final report from the Coroner’s Office.

Objections and religious considerations

Some object to a post-mortem examination being carried out, which we understand and respect, but we must uphold the law and apply it fairly to everyone.

The coroner will make the final decision and can request a post-mortem examination even if the family does not agree.

This can be a difficult time for you and your family - we will do all we can to support you and minimise delays to your funeral arrangements.


You can appeal to the coroner in writing by email or letter. 

Let us know you plan to do this, we will not start the post-mortem examination until the coroner has looked at this and we have spoken to you about the decision.

Non-invasive examination

Limited scanning can be carried out in some circumstances with coroner's permission.

If you ask the coroner for this, it may incur a cost to you as a family, which will be discussed beforehand.

Sometimes, if the cause of death can't be established, an invasive post mortem examination is still needed.

Last updated 04 April 2024