The Coroner Service’s role

Coroners are independent public officials whose function is to investigate sudden and unexplained deaths.

In many cases, they will arrange for a post-mortem to be carried out to help them come to a conclusion. Where a coroner believes that a death was violent, unnatural or happened suddenly and from unknown causes, they will hold an inquest to establish the facts of how the person died. The function of the inquest is not to decide if someone is legally responsible for the person's death. It is solely to establish the “who, when, where and how” of their death.  The Minister for Justice has no role in individual coroner investigations or inquests. 

The Department of Justice has responsibility for the policy and governing legislation of the State’s Coroner Service. However, the payment of fees and expenses associated with the service provided by Coroners is a matter for the relevant Local Authority. 

Annual returns on the number of cases carried out by Coroners can be found here.

Contact details

If you have a query in respect of an inquest, you should contact your local coroner.

Useful links