We have had to change the way that some of our service operates to meet the guidelines set out by the government in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is the duty of the coroner to investigate deaths which are reported to them.

Around 60% of the deaths in Torbay are referred to the coroner. In the vast majority of cases no further investigation is necessary and the registration can be completed straightaway

The coroner will investigate a death which:

  • Appears to be due to violence
  • Appears to be unnatural or suspicious
  • Is sudden and of unknown cause
  • Occurs in legal custody

Coroners investigate sudden or unexplained death by organising post mortems and holding inquests.

More information on what happens when a death is reported to the coroner, post-mortems and inquests.

When a death is reported to a coroner Opens in a new window 

Contact the coroner’s offices

Next of kin enquiries: 01752 487402 (answer phone available).

Reporting of deaths in Torbay and South Devon: 01752 487404/01752 487405

Administration office: 01752 204636 (8:30am to 5pm)

Email at hmcoroner@plymouth.gov.uk or post:

Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon Coroner's Office
Derriford Business Park

Office opening hours:

Monday to Thursday: 7:30am to 12:30pm, 1pm to 3:15pm.

Friday: 7:30am to 12:30pm, 1pm to 2:45pm


If the coroner decides it is necessary to investigate further, he will order a post mortem examination.

When the post mortem is completed, the coroner will be sent a report on the causes of death that were found.

The coroner will review the information:

  • If the post mortem shows that the deceased died of natural causes, they will issue paperwork directly to the registrar, so the death can be registered and no further action will be taken
  • If the post mortem shows an unnatural cause of death, or if the cause of death is still not known they will hold an inquest

Where there is a delay between the death and the holding of an inquest the coroner may issue interim death certificates.

Once an inquest has been held the coroner will write to the registrar to tell them the inquest has been completed. The death will be registered without anyone having to attend.

They will also write to the next of kin or executor to tell them the registrar has been notified of the death and how to apply for a death certificate.

There is a guide to coroner services  Opens in a new window which is mainly for people who have been bereaved but others involved in or affected by an inquest may also find it helpful.