Police coronial advice
This information is intended to assist Bailiwick Law Enforcement in coronial matters.
Flowchart of Procedures to assist Officers
Declaration of Death and Limit of Time for Keeping the Body
A declaration of death must be made to the Registrar of Births and Deaths within five days after death under Article 9 of The Law Relating to the Registration of Births and Deaths in the Bailiwick of Guernsey 1935, as amended.
Article 15 of the same above Law, prescribes the period of time a body is allowed to be kept. If the body is not in the custody of the States (in reality, if not at the PEH mortuary), the limit of time it may remain is six days, after which the Medical Officer of Health must be informed.
Whether or not Medical Officer of Health notification is required, a body may only be kept without specific authorisation for a maximum of 15 days. Once this period has expired, mainly due to delays in an inquest or need for further investigation before the release of a body, authorisation has to be obtained from the Law Officers and the Constables of the Parish where the body is, (and in Sark, from the Constables and Seneschal) for the body to be kept 'above ground'. Failure to comply with these provisions constitutes a breach of the relevant law and is punishable by way of a fine. An Above Ground Order must be requested via email to email@example.com if the human remains are to be kept after 15 days at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital Mortuary.
Post-mortem examinations directed by the Law Officers do not require consent from the deceased's relatives. The following are examples of cases where the Law Officers are likely to direct a post-mortem examination:
Sudden deaths when the doctor cannot sign the death certificate
Allegations of medical negligence
Acute alcohol poisoning/intoxication
Death involving drugs or poisons
Death from industrial disease
Death in custody
Road traffic collision
Surgery related deaths
Sudden infant death
Pregnancy related deaths
If you have any questions regarding the information above, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org