Coroners inquire into all reported deaths from unnatural or unknown causes, or sudden deaths.
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What does a coroner do?

Coroners are independent judicial officers who inquire into all reported deaths from unnatural or unknown causes, or those that have happened suddenly or in prison or police custody. 

As a coroner you would:

  • investigate all reported deaths to find out what happened
  • decide the cause of death by looking into all the available information
  • talk to other professionals involved, such as the deceased's doctor
  • order a post-mortem examination if there are questions around the cause of death
  • hold an inquest to find out who the deceased was, and how, when and where the person came by their death, if the death was not natural
  • notify the Registrar about the death, and results of any inquest held
  • deal with upset relatives in an understanding way
  • write reports with recommendations to prevent future deaths
  • make sure that the way things are done, and all records, follow the law

What do I need to do to become a coroner?

Coroners must be qualified barristers or solicitors, or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), with at least five years' experience after qualifying. A few coroners have qualifications in both law and medicine. You would usually start as a deputy or assistant deputy coroner.

All appointments of coroners and assistant coroners must be made by local authorities, subject to the consent of the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor. All coroners must retire by the age of 70.

An alternative way to get into the legal sector is to take an apprenticeship. 


Related skills

  • Administration
  • Analytics
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Discipline
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving

Vocational route

  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives apprenticeship

Essential qualifications

  • Must be qualified barristers or solicitors, or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), with at least five years' experience after qualifying.

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

Some coroners are full-time, and this is their only job, whereas other coroners work part-time and spend the rest of their time working in private legal practice.  

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