Coroners are independent judicial officers – this means that no one else can tell them or direct them as to what they should do, but they must follow the laws and regulations which apply.
Coroners are usually lawyers but in some cases they may be doctors.
Each Coroner has to have an Assistant or Assistants and, between them, they have to be available at all times. Coroners are helped by their Officers, who receive the reports of deaths and make enquiries on behalf of the Coroner. The cost of the Coroner service is met by local taxation.
A Coroner enquires into those deaths reported to them. It is their duty to find out the medical cause of death, if it is known, and to enquire about the cause of death if it was due to violence or was otherwise unnatural.
Not all deaths are reported to the Coroner. In most cases the deceased’s own doctor, or a hospital doctor who has been treating the deceased, is able to give a cause of death and issue a medical certificate.
There are a number of occasions when a death will be reported to the Coroner - e.g. when no doctor has treated the deceased during his/her last illness, or when the death was unexpected or unnatural.
Deaths are usually reported to the Coroner by the police or by a doctor called to the death. But a doctor will also report a patient’s death if unexpected. In other cases, the local registrar of deaths may make the report.
Whenever a death has been reported to the Coroner, whether the Coroner decides to carry out a post mortem or not, the registrar must wait for the Coroner to finish his/her enquiries.
Once the Coroner has completed his/her enquiries paperwork will be issued to the registrar, the registrar will then be able to proceed with the registration and issue paperwork for the funeral to proceed.
If the Coroner has been notified, the enquiries may take some time, so it is always best to contact the Coroner’s office before any funeral arrangements are made.
The Coroner responsible for the district of Rhondda Cynon Taf is Coroner Mr Andrew Barkley, who is based at Rock Grounds, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
His Assistant Coroners, who act when he is not available and exercise the full powers of the Coroner, are Mr Graeme Hughes and Dr Sarah-Jayne Richards. They can be contacted via the Coroner’s Officers.
To view listings of inquests and further Coroner details please view the Coroner website.
Contact details for the Coroner's Officers are:
Merthyr and Aberdare
Rhondda and Pontypridd
Bridgend and Porthcawl
The Coroner is based at:
The Coroner's Office
1 st Floor
Tel: 01685 885202
Fax: 01685 885250