Coronial Functions

Deaths suspected to have been due to any unlawful act, suicide, accident, poisoning, deprivation or neglect, deaths in custody, mental health facilities, or children homes, and sudden deaths of unknown cause are referred to the Law Officers (in their capacity as investigative coroner) by Doctors, the Hospital or the Police.

The role of the Law Officers is to direct the investigation of sudden, unexpected, suspicious or unusual deaths, direct post mortem examinations and authorise cremations. They will also direct the opening of an inquest if deemed necessary.

The Magistrate holds the inquests on unnatural deaths in Guernsey; the Court of Alderney in Alderney; and the Court of the Seneschal in Sark.

In light of the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, the virus causing the spread of COVID-19 and Public Health measures to slow the spread of infection, procedures for completing Declarations of Deaths; Medical Certificates of Cause of Deaths; and Applications for Cremations have been agreed and will take effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020.

Guidance for medical practitioners during the current emergency situation are set out in this document: pdf icon Guidance for Medical Practitioners [659kb] - issued on 3rd April 2020.

FAQs regarding the completion of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death & Applications for Cremations are set out in this document: pdf icon FAQs for Medical Practitioners [774kb] - issued on 20th April 2020, updated on 18th May 2020.

Guidance for funeral directors and other stakeholders during the current emergency situation are set out in this document: pdf icon Guidance for Funeral Directors & Other Stakeholders [500kb] - updated 7th April 2020.

The relevant forms are as follows:

pdf icon Declaration of Death [410kb]

pdf icon Medical Certificate Cause of Death Form C [72kb]

pdf icon Medical Certificate of Cause of Death - Post Mortem [475kb]

pdf icon Application for Cremation - PDF [243kb]

word icon Application for Cremation - Word [118kb]

For more information on the Law Officers Coronial Functions, please click on this link pdf icon Coronial function [110kb].

To contact the Law Officers in relation to their coronial function, please email