Last updated 25 August 2016

Coroners have special powers to investigate reportable deaths, including where:

  • the identity of the deceased is unknown
  • the death was violent or unnatural
  • the death happened in suspicious circumstances
  • the death was not a reasonable expected outcome of a health procedure
  • a cause of death certificate was not issued or is not likely to be issued
  • the death occurred in care
  • the death occurred in custody.

The role of the coroner is to decide, if possible, about:

  • the identity of the person
  • how the person died
  • when the person died
  • where the person died
  • what caused the person to die.

Coroners may also make comments or recommendations when information from an inquest into a death is relevant to:

  • public health or safety
  • the administration of justice
  • preventing similar deaths from happening in the future.

If, from information obtained while investigating a death, a coroner reasonably suspects a person has committed an indictable offence, the coroner must give the information to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

More information on the Coroners Court can be obtained from the Justice and Attorney-General Department.