How to refer a death to the coroner
In general, the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner attending a patient during their final illness completes a medical certificate of cause of death. There are occasions, however, when the health practitioner is required to report a death to the coroner.
A death is referred to the coroner in accordance with the Coroners Act 2006, section 14.
Use Death Documents to report a death to the coroner if the deceased was 28 days of age or older at the time of death. To report the death of a baby less than 28 days of age, in hospital, complete a Hospital Record of Death (HROD) form and phone the Duty Coroner on 0800 266 800.
Criteria for referring
Refer to the coroner when the death:
- appears to be without known cause, self-inflicted, unnatural, or violent
- occurred during, or appears to have been the result of, a medical procedure and was medically unexpected
- occurred while the person was affected by an anaesthetic and was medically unexpected
- occurred while a woman was giving birth, or that appears to have been the result of her being pregnant or giving birth
- occurred in official custody or care (including being subject to mental health legislation)
- as the doctor or nurse practitioner, you are not prepared to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death under section 46B or 46C of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964.
For more information:
To discuss a death with the National Duty Coroner:
Read more on the Coronial Services of New Zealand Purongo O te Ao Kakaauri website.