Objecting to organs being held

The Senior next of kin has the right to object to organs being held following 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 the retention of a whole organ after a post mortem has been conducted.

How should you submit your objection?

If you are the Senior next of kin, you must write a letter stating your objection, and sign and date it. The letter must include the reasons why you are objecting to the organ retention, 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 local-court-glebe@justice.nsw.gov.au or faxed to the court on (02) 9660 7594 to prevent undue delay. Please ensure that the subject heading on the email is 'OBJECTION TO ORGAN RETENTION".​

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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 retention of a whole organ is necessary or is in the public interest.

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

What are your options if the Coroner decides it is necessary to hold an organ?

If the Coroner believes that organ retention is required, you will be given a '48 hours notice' which will state the Senior next of kin's right to apply to the Supreme Court to stop the retention of organs.

The Senior next of kin can apply to the Supreme Court for an order that no organs be held. 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 can withdraw their objection to organ retention at any point in the process.