Death Certification in England and Wales – Announcements

Members are informed that the Maria Caulfield, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy) has on 15th April 2024 made an announcement concerning the implementation of the revised death certification system. She stated:

I wish to inform the House that the Government will today lay before Parliament regulations which will reform death certification in England and Wales. Under these reforms all deaths will legally become subject to either a medical examiner’s scrutiny or a coroner’s investigation. The changes coming into force on 9 September 2024 will put all the medical examiner system’s obligations, duties and responsibilities on a statutory footing, and ensure they are recognised by law.

You can read the full Ministerial statement here.

Following this announcement the Ministry of Justice issued their own announcement:

Announcement: implementation date for death certification reform and the statutory Medical Examiner scheme
As you will know, we have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the General Register Office (GRO), the Judicial Office, the Office for National Statistics, the Welsh Government and the National Medical Examiner to establish an implementation date for the statutory Medical Examiner scheme. We are now able to announce that the new system will come into effect on 9 September 2024. This date will be established in legislation because it will be the implementation date for the regulatory framework set out below.

This is because, today, the DHSC has laid regulations under section 19 (Medical Examiners), section 20 (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) and section 21 (National Medical Examiner) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. These regulations can be found at Death certification reform and the introduction of medical examiners – GOV.UK (, a summary of impacts can be found at Death certification reform and the introduction of medical examiners: updated summary of impact – GOV.UK ( and a written ministerial statement can be found at Written statements – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament.

It is important to emphasise that these regulations, and all relevant reforms to the death certification process, will come into force in England and Wales on 9 September 2024until then, existing legislation continues to apply.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will make regulations covering cremation processes in due course, but ahead of the 9 September implementation date. The GRO will also be making relevant regulatory changes ahead of 9 September.

The MoJ shared their draft regulations, amended cremation forms and guidance with stakeholders for comment in December 2023. We will circulate final versions as far in advance of the 9 September implementation date as possible to ensure that stakeholders are able to familiarise themselves with the new arrangements in good time. The cremation forms and guidance will also be published on ahead of the implementation date, and will be available at:
Cremation forms and guidance – GOV.UK (

You may also wish to note that the Royal College of Pathologists will be holding an information event on 11 June.  Details will follow in due course.

Lastly, we are committed to engaging with as many stakeholders as possible to increase awareness of the implementation of the Medical Examiner Scheme, so please do share this announcement with other colleagues with an interest in this area.