When someone dies at home or in a Nursing Home:

When someone dies at home, the family doctor and closest family relative must be informed. If your loved one dies at a Nursing Home, the staff will arrange for the Doctor to visit. The Doctor who has attended your loved one during their last illness must complete a certificate giving the cause of death. The ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’ is a legal requirement and is issued free of charge. Depending upon the day and time, the Doctor may issue the certificate at a later date, and you may be asked to collect this from the surgery. This certificate must be taken to your local Registrar of Births and Deaths, as this will allow registration to take place.

When someone dies in Hospital

If someone dies in Hospital, the Health Authority will arrange for the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to be completed and will usually ask one to collect this from the Bereavement Officer. On some occasions, the Hospital will want to carry out a post-mortem, for which consent from the nearest relative will be required. This request will be for additional information on the cause of death and isn’t, in any way, a legal requirement. When you visit the Bereavement Officer to collect the Certificate, you will need to inform them of your intentions for the funeral. Should you opt for a Cremation, two additional documents will need to be completed by the Hospital, and the deceased cannot be removed from their care until these have been completed. In any case, we ask if you can contact us as soon as you feel able. We can then guide you through the immediate steps and ensure you know what is going on.


When someone dies Suddenly

If there is doubt about the cause of death - for example, if the death was sudden or the Doctor had not seen the person within fourteen days before death - then the Coroner must be informed. This procedure, in many cases, is just routine and should not cause you concern. If the death is then considered natural causes, the Coroner will notify them that they do not consider it necessary to carry out any further examination or hold an inquest. This documentation may be given to a relative to take to the Registrar or sent to the Registrar direct. However, should the Coroner consider that further examination is required to determine a medical cause of death, then he or she will authorise a Post Mortem Examination to be carried out. In that case, please contact us as soon as possible to liaise with the Coroner and keep you informed of what is happening.

Who should register the death and when?

Once the ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’ has been issued, it should be taken to the Registrar of Births and Deaths. This will enable the registration to occur, which must be done within five days of the death by law. The ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’ will more often be issued by the GP who attended the deceased during their illness. The certificate will be collected from the surgery if the deceased passed away at home, and you should call the surgery to arrange this. However, if the death occurred in the hospital, the Patients Affairs Office should be contacted to arrange collection. There is no charge payable for this certificate.


Those who are eligible to register the death are:


A relative present at the Death

A relative in attendance during the last illness

A relative residing in the sub-district where the death occurred


If the death has been reported to the Coroner, registration cannot occur until we, or the Coroner, inform you. There may be a different procedure to registration if a Coroner is involved, and we’ll guide you on these variations should they arise.


What information will the Registrar ask for?

Certain information concerning the death will be on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. However, other information regarding the deceased will be required:


Their full name was previously used names or maiden name.

Their date and location of birth.

Their occupation or husband's occupation is a married woman.

Their address. If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the Widow or Widower.


The Registrar will also ask if the person who has died received any pension or allowance from Government or public funds; these may include Civil Service, Naval Base, and Armed Forces funds. These details will be required so that the Registrar can forward a copy of the death certificate directly to these organisations on your behalf.

Where should you register?

You must register the death at the office within the district where the death occurred. An appointment will need to be made, and our local Registrar’s details are listed on the following page. Should death occur outside of    Portsmouth, we can provide you with the details of the relevant Registrar, and we’ll even make the appointment for you. If you have difficulty in getting to the Registrar, just let us know. We’ll take you there and bring you back, and there is NO charge for this service. Should you, as a relative, live a long distance away from the Registrar, you can, in certain circumstances, register by declaration. Please let us know.


What documents are issued?

Once the death is registered, three documents will be released to you. The first, a White Certificate (BD8 Rev) containing a social security form. This enables you to claim any arrears or benefits due to the deceased person's estate and to ensure that the correct benefits are paid to the widow if this is applicable. The white certificate is issued free of charge. Secondly, a Green Certificate, the Registrars Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This certificate is required by the Burial or Cremation authority and must be given to the Funeral Director. Should the deceased be resting at a hospital, we will need the green certificate as evidence given your instructions before any collection can be carried out. This certificate is also provided free of charge.


Thirdly, you will be provided with a Certified Copy of the Entry. This is the ‘Death Certificate’, a copy of the actual entry in the Register of Deaths. Copies of the Certified Copy of Entry can be purchased for a small fee. Additional copies of the certificate will be necessary for Grant of  Probate or Letters of    Administration. You may also require copies of this certificate for informing Banks, Building Societies, Insurance companies, Solicitors and if you intend to claim a funeral payment through the DWP. These organisations will only accept original certificates and not photocopies.


If you have any other queries or would like to speak to anyone concerning the process of registration, please do not hesitate to call upon our services. Alternatively, you may contact the local Registrar for Births, Deaths, and  Marriages. Please note, to register a death, you will need to make an appointment.




Record Office,
3 Orchard Street, Chichester, West Sussex,

PO19 1DD
Telephone Number:

01243 642122


High Street,
Gosport, PO12 1BT
Telephone Number:

0845 603 5637


27 The Square
GU32 3HH

Telephone Number :

0300 555 1392


6a Bugle Street
SO14 2AJ

Telephone Number : 

023 8091 5327


4 Osborn Road South,

PO16 7DG
Telephone Number:

01329 280493


Civic Centre Road,
Havant, PO9 2AX
Telephone Number:

0845 603 5637


Milldam House,
Burnaby Road,

Portsmouth, PO1 3AF
Telephone Number:

023 9275 6597


Castle Hill High Street


SO23 8UH

Telephone Number : 

0300 555 1392