When someone dies, the doctor who was treating the deceased will issue a medical certificate of cause of death to the relatives. The person who will be registering the death must take this certificate to the registrar's office.
Occasionally, if the death was sudden or the doctor treating the deceased is unavailable, it may not be possible for a medical certificate of cause of death to be issued. If this happens, the death will have to be reported to the coroner, which may lead to a delay in registering the death.
Every death in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place within 5 days of the date of death.
Information for the registration is given to the registrar by the person registering the death. This information is usually recorded on computer and also recorded in the death register. The person registering the death signs the record.
If it is inconvenient for the person registering the death to go to the district where it took place, the information for the registration may be given to a registrar in another district. The registrar will record the registration particulars on a form of declaration and send it to the registrar for the district where the death occurred.
The registrar who receives the declaration will enter the information in the death register. Certificates of the death, which may be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration, as well as the document allowing the funeral to proceed, will be posted to the person registering the death by the registrar for the district where it took place.
If the declaration procedure is used, it may take a day or two longer for the document allowing the funeral to proceed to be issued. Relatives should discuss the arrangements with their funeral director and the registrar so as to avoid any delay to the funeral.
The registration of a death in Wales may be made bilingually in English and Welsh if the person who registers the death gives the information in Welsh and the registrar is able to understand and write Welsh.
If the registrar cannot understand and write Welsh, the registration may be carried out in a different district where there are welsh-speaking registrars, using the declaration procedure as described above.
A death that took place in England must be registered in English only.