Department of Justice

Coroner's Office

Common Terms

 Term  Definition
Chief Coroner The chief coroner is responsible for ensuring that the legislative requirements of the Coroners Act are fulfilled to the highest standard.
Coroner An independent investigator who clarifies for the public record the circumstances of all unnatural or unexpected deaths.
Autopsy The dissection of a body following exposure of cranial, thoracic, and abdominal cavities for the purpose of macroscopic and microscopic examination of organs and tissues of the body to determine the cause or causes of death, the manner of death or the identity of the deceased. Includes toxicological, biochemical, microbiological, serological, radiological tests and other laboratory processes where performed as a necessary part of an examination.
Cause of Death The medical cause of death according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death as published and from time to time, revised by the World Health Organization of the United Nations Organization (UN).
Manner of Death The way in which a person dies or a death occurs, whether natural, homicide, suicide, accidental or undetermined (see individual definitions below). 
Body A dead human body and includes a part of a dead human body and the remains of a dead human body.
Accident Manner:  Death occurring from misadventure with no intent.
Homicide Manner: Death that results from the culpable actions of another person.  Homicide is not synonymous with murder.
Natural  Manner: Death occurring from natural disease.
Suicide Manner: Self-inflicted injury with intent to end one’s life
Undetermined Manner: After completing a thorough review of all of the evidence, there is no evidence, there is equal and different evidence, or significant uncertainty among two or more classification of death. Not a negative finding.
Inquest Quasi-judicial proceeding (public investigation) which is conducted in an impartial and judicious (court-like) manner. 
Pathologist A medical doctor who specializes in pathology; a doctor who examines bodies to find out the cause of death.
 Next of Kin Next of kin refers to the nearest blood relatives of a person who has died, including the surviving spouse.
Judgement of Inquiry A quasi-judicial process conducted privately without a jury. Outcome is a document that provides a summary of all the facts surrounding the death and is another mechanism for making recommendations for prevention.
Quasi-judicial An entity or process that has powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or judge, and which must objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action.