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Deaths and 'Tell us once'

Registering a death during COVID-19

Registering a death during this time

From Monday 30 March 2020 and until further notice, deaths will be registered by telephone, as per the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

There will be no requirement for relatives to collect the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death from the hospital, care home or GP. A scan of the signed certificate can be emailed to the registrar directly at

The green certificate for burial or cremation will be transmitted electronically to the Funeral Director, crematorium or cemetery office.

There will be no requirement for customers to attend our office in person. The office will be closed to the public.

The registrar will call you to arrange registration of the death.

The Government's What to do when someone dies: step by step guide is also available online.

Further support can be found in our Bereavement Guide.

Deaths in Sutton

If the death took place in the London Borough of Sutton it has to be registered at Sutton Register Office. This will be completed by telephone.

You are legally required to register a death within five days.

If there is an investigation into the death, with the Coroner involved, the death may be registered outside of the five days. If the investigation leads to an inquest then the registration will take place once the inquest has been held. The Coroner will contact the family to let them know when they are able to obtain death certificates from the Register Office.

If the death took place outside of the London Borough of Sutton, please contact the Register Office within the district where the death occurred. 

Who can register a death?

‘Qualified informants’ can register a death. A qualified informant can be:

  • A relative

  • A person who was present at the death

  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred. The informant must either be the Senior Resident Officer or Matron of the establishment where the death occurred

  • The person arranging the funeral. A person arranging the funeral should only register a death if there are no relatives available

  • The Funeral Director (under the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020).


£11 per certificate (statutory fee). The registrar will ask you how many certificates you require and take the appropriate payment over the phone. The certificates will then be sent first class to the person who registered.

At a later time, more certificates will be available, if needed, by making an online application.

What we will need

  • Medical certificate of cause of death - issued by the certifying Doctor. This document will be transmitted electronically by the Hospital or GP directly to the Register Office. 


  • Coroner’s post-mortem form - issued from the Coroner. This form will be transmitted electronically by the Coroner Office directly to the Register Office.

If available, please have the following to refer to in relation to the deceased:

  • Passports or birth certificates

  • Marriage or civil partnership certificates (if applicable)

Information we will need

Details of the deceased:

  • Date and place of death

  • First name, middle names (if applicable) and surname

  • Any other names the deceased was otherwise, or previously, known by

  • Maiden name (if applicable)

  • Date and place of birth

  • Occupation and whether retired or not

  • Address

Details of the spouse/civil partner of deceased:

  • First name, middle names (if applicable) and surname

  • If deceased or not

  • Occupation

  • If retired or not

  • Date of birth

Documents we will issue

  • Green certificate for burial or cremation - this will be transmitted electronically directly to the funeral director. Separate procedures apply where the death has been referred to the Coroner

  • Unique number to access the Tell Us Once service - this will be emailed to you

  • The death certificate will follow in the post to you

Out of Hours Emergency Burial Certificate Service

We are unable to guarantee the availability of the weekend on-call service. We will continue to do our best to provide this additional service while staffing levels allow.

An on-call service is available on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays between 9am and 10am. This service is for the issue of burial certificates required for a funeral that is to take place within 24 hours.

The on-call registrar will issue the burial certificate if:

  • You can provide confirmation that the burial is to take place within 24 hours

  • You have a correctly-completed medical certificate of cause of death from the doctor

  • The death does not have to be referred to the Coroner

  • You are qualified to register the death

There is no basis in law for the mortuary or persons holding the body to require sight of the green Certificate for Burial or Cremation in order to release the body. The certificate is not intended for this purpose and will not be issued unless the criteria above are met.

Information about public health funerals 

You can obtain more information about public health funerals by emailing: or by contacting the council on 020 8770 5000 and asking to speak to the Protection of Property Officer.

Other help available

The government provide advice on what steps to take when a relative dies, please click here to view their guidance. 

If you are struggling with the cost of organising a funeral anywhere in the UK you may obtain free and confidential advice, information and guidance from Down To Earth who are a London-based charity by clicking here 

The Citizens Advice Bureau also offer funeral advice: please click here 

Council switchboard emergency line: 020 8770 5000