Coroners Court New South Wales

Objecting to a post mortem

The Senior next of kin has the right to object to a post mortem. Section 96(1) of the Coroners Act 2009 provides that the Senior next of kin of a deceased person may make a written request that a coroner or an assistant coroner not authorise a post mortem examination.

It is important that you contact us immediately if you wish to object to the postmortem examination occurring. 

How should you submit your objection?

If you are the Senior next of kin, you must write a letter stating your objection. The letter must include the reasons why you are objecting to the examination, including any cultural, religious or personal beliefs you wish the Coroner to consider.

If you as the Senior next of kin wish for an alternative person (for example, a family friend, relative or solicitor) to represent you in the coronial proceedings, you should state this in the letter. Both you and the representative will need to sign it.

The letter should be emailed to​ or faxed to the court on (02) 8584 7788 to prevent undue delay. Please ensure that the subject heading on the email is 'OBJECTION TO POST MORTEM".​

How will the Coroner respond to the objection?

The Coroner will consider the written objection, along with the circumstances surrounding the death. The Coroner must decide whether the post mortem examination is necessary or is in the public interest.

The Coroner will then make a determination as to whether a post mortem examination is necessary, and you will be notified of the decision.

What are your options if the Coroner decides a post mortem is necessary?

If the Coroner believes that a post mortem examination is required, you will be given '48 hours notice'. This notice will indicate the earliest time the postmortem may be performed, and will also state the Senior next of kin's right to apply to the Supreme Court to stop the post mortem.

The Senior next of kin can apply to the Supreme Court for an order that no post mortem be performed. This application must be lodged with the Supreme Court within 48 hours of the notice being forwarded to you.

Does an objection affect the funeral process?

The objection process can delay the release of the person's body so it is important that you do not confirm the funeral date before the Coroner decides upon the objection.

Note: The senior next of kin withdraw their objection to the postmortem examination at any point in the process.

Last updated:

06 Mar 2024

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