Sefton, St Helens & Knowsley Coroner's Service
Coroners are independent judicial officers who investigate deaths reported to them.
They will make whatever inquiries are necessary to find out the cause of death, this includes ordering a post-mortem examination, obtaining witness statements and medical records, or holding an inquest.
The Coroner investigates deaths in order to establish who, where and when a person died and how, meaning by what means a person has died.
The Coroner for Sefton, St. Helens and Knowsley is HM Senior Coroner Julie Goulding
To find the latest inquests taking place in Sefton please click here.
Sefton, St. Helens & Knowsley Coroner’s Office
Bootle Town Hall
Call: 0151 934 2399 (Option 1)
Call: 0151 934 2399 (Option 2)
Coroners investigate deaths that have been reported to them if they think that:
• the death was violent or unnatural;
• the cause of death is unknown; or,
• the person died in prison, police custody or another type of state detention e.g. an immigration removal centre or while detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.
When a death is reported to a coroner, they:
• decide whether an investigation is needed; and if it is,
• investigate to establish the identity of the person who has died; how, when, and where they died; and any information they need to register the death; and,
• use information discovered during the investigation to help prevent other deaths.
If a death is reported to a coroner, the documents you need to register the death may be different.
The coroner will decide either:
• the cause of death is clear
• that a post-mortem is needed
• to hold an inquest
If the cause of death is clear
If the coroner decides that the cause of death is clear the doctor will sign a medical certificate and you can take this to register the death. The coroner will also issue a certificate to the registrar stating a post-mortem is not needed.
If a post-mortem is needed
The coroner may decide a post-mortem is needed to find out how the person died. Post Mortems will be performed at Whiston Hospital Mortuary.
The coroner will always consider any religious beliefs, cultural requirements and family wishes when conducting all aspects of an investigation, including a post-mortem. You cannot attend post-mortem examinations.
After the post-mortem
The coroner will release the body for a funeral once they have completed the post-mortem examinations and no further examinations are needed.
If the body is released with no inquest, the coroner will send a form (‘Pink Form - form 100B’) to the registrar stating the cause of death. Next of Kin contact details will be forwarded to the Registrar who will arrange to make an appointment.
The coroner will also send a ‘Certificate of Coroner - Form Cremation 6’ if the body is to be cremated or a burial Form to a nominated Funeral Director.
If the coroner holds an inquest
A coroner will hold an inquest if the cause of death is unknown, unnatural, or the person died in prison or otherwise in state detention.
The court can issue an interim death certificate which can be used for probate and other purposes to prove the fact of death.
After the inquest the coroner will register the death and you can get the final death certificate from the registrar. Next of Kin contact details will be forwarded to the Registrar who will arrange to make an appointment to collect the Death Certificate
An inquest is a public court hearing for the coroner, sometimes with a jury, to decide who died, how, when and where the death happened.
Not all deaths which are investigated by a coroner need to have an inquest. You will be told when an inquest is required.
During the inquest the coroner will hear from witnesses and consider other evidence such as post-mortem reports.
Must I attend?
If you are asked to give evidence at the hearing you will be expected to attend. This could be either remotely by Microsoft Teams or in person.
You do not need to attend an inquest if you are not giving evidence.
Who else will be in court?
Members of the public may attend, and the media are allowed to report on proceedings.
A summons will be sent out and will ask you if you are eligible to serve in the court as a juror.
To qualify, you must:
• be aged between 18 and 75 by the inquest start date
• be registered to vote in the UK
• have been a resident in the UK for at least 5 years after your thirteenth birthday.
You do not qualify as a juror if you:
• are on bail
• have been to prison or been subject to a community order within the last 10 years
• have ever been given a prison sentence of 5 years or longer
• are in hospital or under a community treatment order for mental health treatment
• do not have mental capacity.
If you are unsure as to whether you fall under any of these categories, you can contact the office on 0151 934 2399 (option 2).
If you are eligible to serve as a juror but cannot attend for other reasons, such as a planned holiday, medical appointments, or health concerns then you must fill in the form stating that you are eligible however that you wish to be excused.
You may be required to provide evidence for why you will be unable to attend. If the coroner agrees to excuse you from attending this inquest you may be summoned again for future inquests.
Once you have completed all the paperwork, please return the form using the pre-paid envelope.
Once all the summonses are sent out, we might receive more replies than are needed for eligible jurors. If this is the case, we will choose to defer some jurors to a later date, we will contact you to inform you of this.
What to expect when you arrive for Jury service
On the first day you will attend court usually 1 hour before the start of the inquest, however you will be informed of this. You will be met by members of the administration team who talk to you about your expenses, and check that you have no connection to any people related to the inquest you will be attending. If you know someone who is involved in the case your jury duty maybe deferred.
Once all the necessary paperwork has been complete all appointed jurors will wait in the jury room until the start of the inquest where they will be escorted into the court.
Lunch will be provided, and you will be asked to select your menu choice.
Similar to witnesses attending court, each juror will be asked to swear an oath on the holy book of your choice or to affirm which is non-religious. Once all jury members have completed this, the hearing will begin. You are encouraged to make notes during the inquest to assist with your decision. You are also able to ask witnesses questions during the inquest if you are unclear.
If you do not feel comfortable asking this yourself you can write it on a piece of paper that can be given to the coroner to ask on your behalf.
To help you make your final decision, the coroner will provide you with a summary of the points and will give you a selection of different conclusions that can be reached. How long the final conclusion can take is dependent on the jury and whether they agree or not.
You will be formally dismissed when the inquest is closed and you will be free to go, but you must not tell anyone else the details of the discussion you had with the other jury members.
When attending court, there are certain rules and etiquette that you must follow.
• When addressing the Coroner you must address them appropriately which is Sir for a male Coroner and Ma’am or Madam for a female.
• There is no formal dress code, however the court asks for attendees to dress smart casual and to not wear any clothing that may cause offence, or be disrespectful.
• You must stand whenever a coroner enters the court room and when they leave.
You must behave appropriately in court - if you do not you can be held in contempt of court, which includes:
• Disobeying or ignoring a court order
• Taking photos or shouting out in court
• Refusing to answer the court’s questions if you’re called as a witness
If you are found to be in contempt of court, you can be removed from the court room, fined or imprisoned. In some circumstances you may be prosecuted.