If a death occurs outside of ‘normality’ or by ‘unnatural causes’ it may be necessary for an inquest to be held.
An inquest will be chaired by a Coroner who is a government official. The standard role of a Coroner is to confirm and certify the death of an individual within a jurisdiction. A Coroner may also conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death, and investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the Coroner's jurisdiction. In England, where the role originated, a Coroner also deals with treasure trove cases.
Police involvement with inquests will vary hugely dependent on the circumstances of a death. In many cases police work will be on behalf of the Coroner to gather evidence and assist with the Coroner’s file.
It is important to note a Coroner’s Court is not criminal and cannot convict anyone of a crime, but a Coroner may make recommendations for Police and other authorities to act upon.