Why you may be asked to be a witness for a Coroner

A coroner must investigate all deaths that may be unnatural or where the deceased (person who has died) was in a state of custody at the time of their death.

If you witnessed events surrounding a death that the Coroner’s investigating, you may be asked to give evidence at an inquest (an inquiry to find the facts).

If you need to attend an inquest to give evidence, the Coroner’s Office will send you a summons. Most inquests are held at the Coroners' Court on Newton Street in Birmingham, but you should check the details of your summons to make sure.

You must attend to give evidence on the date and at the time stated in the witness summons (the summons will clearly state if the Coroner’s Office expects it to be more than one day). Not attending is a criminal offence. Please make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the hearing is due to start. You will need to stay at the hearing until the Coroner says you can leave.

If you’re unable to attend the hearing, please write to the Coroner’s Office as soon as possible. You should state the reason why you can’t attend and include proof, eg flight confirmation, where possible.

After the inquest, if the death took place in the UK, the Coroner’s Office will give the next of kin details on how to get a copy of the death certificate.

You can read more information about Coroner Services and Coroner Investigations on the Gov.uk website.