Coroners Court

Return of the body and organs


The timeframe for a post-mortem examination varies according to the complexity of the case and the specific testing required.  Only once the post mortem examination is complete, can the Coroner approve the release of the deceased person from the forensic medicine facility to the funeral director.


In some cases, the Coroner will decide that an organ should be kept for a more thorough examination so that finer details of disease or damage may be detected.


If a whole organ is to be held, an officer from the Coroner's Information and Support Program will contact the senior next-of-kin to explain what is happening and to inform them of their rights. In some cases, the tissue or organs can be returned later for burial or cremation.


In some cases, the Forensic Pathologist may retain small tissue samples for further examination if required. Once the post-mortem examination has been completed, a social worker from NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic Medicine service will contact the senior next-of-kin to notify them of such retention and to discuss their wishes about these samples.


For more information see objecting to organs being held.