Post mortem examinations are not necessary if a doctor can certify the cause of a death. But sometimes they must be carried out to help establish the cause of a sudden, unexplained or suspicious death.
Post mortem examinations are more likely in certain circumstances, such as the sudden or unexplained death of a child. The permission of the nearest relatives is not needed to carry out an examination.
Cultural and religious traditions and sensitivities are respected. If a post-mortem examination is held, the death certificate will be issued by the pathologist. The funeral can take place after the death certificate is issued.
A copy of the post-mortem examination report, which usually gives the cause of death, can also be requested.
Delays in toxicology affecting conclusion of deaths investigations
Regrettably there are currently delays in the provision of toxicology analysis by our supplier. Whilst COPFS continues to undertake a number of steps, along with our supplier to resolve this issue, we are not able to confirm the date when post mortem reports will be available in cases where toxicology is instructed by the Procurator Fiscal.
COPFS is acutely conscious of the impact the delay in confirming the final cause of death can have upon bereaved families and we will be in contact with families who are affected by this issue.
Should you have any additional concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact us.