Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Family Information

In the First 24 Hours

The person's body will be taken to the State Mortuary (J Block, QEII Medical Centre, Nedlands) if the death was in Perth or to a regional hospital if the death was in the country.

The next of kin will be contacted by a police officer, most likely from the Coronial Investigation Unit, who will serve a copy of the Coroners' brochure, "When a Person Dies Suddenly".

You may wish to contact a funeral director.

You may be asked to identify the person.

The Coroner will decide whether an autopsy needs to be performed. If you want to object to an autopsy, contact the Coroner's office or the Police Coronial Investigation Unit after hours immediately. Before deciding to object to an autopsy it is important to bear in mind the fact that if there is no autopsy information as to the cause of death will be lost and it may not be possible to reliably determine the cause of death

If you are a family member, staff from DonateWest may contact you to ask if you will agree to tissue donation.

The police or Coroner's office may contact you to get more information about the circumstances of the death or the person's medical history.

Identifying the Body

The person's body must be identified and this is usually done by someone who knew the person well (usually a friend or relative). If you were present at or soon after the death, you may be asked to identify the person.

If the person was not identified at the place of death, you may be contacted by a Police Officer and required to go to the State Mortuary in Perth or the local hospital.

Only one person is needed to do the identification, but it is a good idea to take someone with you, as identifying someone you know can be upsetting.

How To Find Out What's Happening

The Coroner has a legal responsibility to investigate the death. This means that until the body is released for the funeral, the Coroner is in charge of the body. As a result the family may feel isolated and the uncertainty can be hard to cope with. However, the Coroner's staff are available to deal with any concerns you have and every effort will be made to keep you informed.

Every case is individual and different. The investigation may take some time and the Coroner's staff will be in touch with you as soon as there is something to report. The information on this website is designed to answer many of your questions. If you have further queries, feel free to ring the Coroner's office.

In an emergency you can ring the Coronial Investigation Unit (24 hours) if the death occurred in the metropolitan area, or a Coronial Counsellor between the hours of 7am and 6pm regardless of whether the death occurred in Perth or in the country.

Often the funeral director gives the Coroner's staff the name of a particular family member as the 'next of kin'. The Coroner's staff will then list this person on their file as their contact person. Other persons may apply to the court to be listed as a next of kin if they fall within the categories listed in section 37(5) of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA).

Last updated: 31-Oct-2022

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