The coroner

This is the link to the Order that merges the Coronial areas of Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside with effect from 1 April 2023.


The role of a coroner is to investigate certain types of deaths, often when there are unnatural or unexplained circumstances, and establish certain details.

Coroners and inquests

Coroners are judicial officers, appointed by the local authority.  They are usually experienced lawyers, who work within a framework of laws passed by parliament.

However, they are independent of both local and central government.

The Chief Coroner is the national head of the coroner system and gives guidance on standards and the work coroners do.

Coroner’s inquests

Reporting a death to the coroner

A death may be reported to the coroner when:

  • the death was unexplained or where there are suspicious circumstances, or when the cause of death is unknown
  • the death may be due to an industrial injury or disease, or due to an accident, violence, negligence or abortion, or to any kind of poisoning
  • the death occurred in police custody, in prison or in an institution of some type
  • the deceased has not been attended to by a doctor during their last illness, or when the doctor attending the deceased did not see them within 28 days before death or after death
  • the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from the effect of an anaesthetic.

Who can report a death to the coroner

Usually a death in any of the above circumstances is reported to the coroner by the police, or by a doctor called to the death.  It may also be reported by a doctor who was treating the deceased if the death was unexpected.

Police and hospital staff can refer a death to the coroner by using the coroner’s online referral form.

Once any death has been reported to the coroner, a registrar cannot register the death until the coroner’s enquiries or investigations have been completed.

The role of the coroner

It is the role of the coroner to determine the circumstances surrounding certain types of death, and to inquire and investigate to establish certain facts.  The coroner will establish:

  • who – the identity of the deceased
  • when – when the death occurred
  • where – the location of the death
  • how – the cause and circumstances of the death


When must an inquest take place?

A coroner must open an Inquest into a death if it:

  • is reasonable to suspect that the death was not due to natural causes
  • occurred in state detention

Natural causes are:

  • a disease running its natural course
  • where nothing else is implicated

What is an inquest for?

An inquest is a public, fact finding inquiry.

A coroner cannot assign fault or blame or deal with issues of civil or criminal liability.

Contact the coroner’s service

The easiest way to contact us is to email

You can also phone us on:

0191 277 7280 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm)

Or write to us at:

Coroner’s office, Lower Ground Floor, Block 1, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH

Inquests are heard at:

HM Coroner Court, Lower Ground Floor, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH

Coroners and officers

His Majesty’s senior coroner for Newcastle and North Tyneside is:

Ms Georgina Nolan

The senior coroner is supported by:

  • assistant coroners
  • an investigative coroner’s officer

Inquests are heard by the senior coroner unless otherwise stated at a hearing.

Coroner’s officers

A coroner’s officer will make inquiries as directed by the coroner.

A single coroner’s officer will be responsible for investigating a death from when it is reported to the end of the coroner’s involvement.

Documentary inquest

A documentary inquest, sometimes also called a Rule 23 inquest, is one where evidence is:

  • admitted in writing
  • not disputed

This avoids the need for witnesses whose evidence is uncontroversial to attend in person.

A coroner will decide the facts based only on written evidence.

After closing the inquest the coroner will inform the interested persons of the determination, findings and conclusion in writing.