Coronavirus Act – Registration of Deaths
27th March, 2020
The Coronavirus Act 2020 makes important changes to the current rules relating to the registration of deaths in England and Wales.
Under existing rules, deaths must be registered by attendance in person at a registry office by an authorised individual, usually a relative or a person that was present at the death.
In England and Wales there is an obligation to register the death within 5 days. This is clearly not going to be possible in most circumstances whilst the country is in lockdown and the government have therefore introduced emergency changes, the most important of which are as follows:-
- Funeral directors are now qualified to give information to the registrar concerning the death if they are organising the funeral and are authorised by a relative of the deceased to provide the required information.
- Individuals are permitted to give the required information to the Registrar by telephone or any other method specified in Guidance issued by the Registrar General.
- The duty to sign the register in the presence of a Registrar is dispensed with where the details of the death are provided remotely.
- A person is relieved of the duty to register the death if it would be impractical for them to do so due to illness, the need to care for others, the risk of infection, staff shortages at the Registrar’s office or any other reason.
It is important that anyone finding themselves in the position of having to register a death is aware of the rules and does not take unnecessary risks. We are able to offer timely advice in light of rapidly changing provisions to make sure that you comply with your legal obligations.
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