Accessing coronial documents
The Coroners Act 2003 limits the release of these documents because they contain highly sensitive and very personal information.
The coroner may consent to release only if:
- they are satisfied that the person seeking the documents has a sufficient interest in the information (e.g. an immediate family member);
- it’s in the public interest to do so; and
- the coroner has consulted with the family to seek their views before releasing any information.
Common coronial investigation documents which may be considered eligible for release include:
- autopsy reports - a detailed medical report about the results of the autopsy. It can take up to 12 months for this report to be available
- toxicology certificates - a certificate with the results of any toxicology tests performed
- findings - the final report by the coroner after all investigations are completed. The findings detail the cause and circumstances of the death.
The CCQ is unable to provide copies of documents from other courts, such as the Queensland Supreme or District Courts, or copies of death certificates. For more information, please visit the Death Certificates page under About Our Court.
- Family members
- Healthcare professionals
- Legal professionals
- Government agencies and statutory bodies
- Media organisations
Provide proof of identity and proof of relationship (if applicable) documents, must be provided with all applications. Proof of identity documents may include:
- full birth certificate (not extract)
- Australian passport (current or expired within the last two years, but not cancelled)
- Australian Citizenship Certificate
- international passport (current or expired within the last two years, but not cancelled)
- current photo drivers licence
- current Department of Veterans Affairs Card
- current Centrelink or Social Security Card
- proof of age card
Proof of relationship documents may include:
- birth certificate with both parents' detail
- household bills
- evidence of Child Support payments.
If the name on your request is different to the name on your identification and proof of relationship documents, also provide an acceptable change of name document, including:
- a marriage certificate issued by a registry or celebrant
- ‘Registration of change of name’ issued by a Births, Deaths and Marriages registry
- divorce papers
- deed poll.
These documents don’t need to be certified by a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations, but must be attached in full to your application before it will be progressed.
To find out how we will protect your information, read our privacy statement.
- Consider if you are connected with the investigation.
- Complete the Application for access to coronial documents (PDF, 177.0 KB).
- Ensure all supporting documentation is included (see below)
For an open coronial investigation
If the coronial investigation is still in progress, send your application to the investigating coroner. Contact the Coroners Court if you’re unsure who the investigating coroner is.
For a finalised coronial investigation
If the coronial investigation has been finalised, please send your application either:
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- By mail to Coroners Court of Queensland, GPO Box 1649, Brisbane, QLD, 4001
Fees may apply for copies of documents; please visit our Fees page for more information, including any fee waivers that may be applicable to your request.
If your request relates to a coronial investigation that has been finalised, please allow up to 5 weeks to process your application. First priority is given to requests where the matter is currently before the Coroner.
Matters older than 9 years and under 36 years can take longer to process as manual searches of the coronial archives may be needed.
It may be necessary to consult with the senior next of kin before documents can be released. Where concerns are raised we must consider those concerns which may extend the time-frame.
If you are seeking access to coronial documents regarding a death that occurred more than 36 years ago, you will need to contact the Queensland State Archives directly for assistance.
National Coronial Information System
Australia has a national internet-based data storage and retrieval system for coronial cases—the National Coronial Information System (NCIS). The NCIS stores information about deaths reported to Queensland coroners since 2001 (as well as those reported to a New Zealand coroner).
Approved research and government agencies can use this valuable research tool. If the information the NCIS provides is insufficient or you can’t access it, apply directly to the State Coroner to access coronial documents for research purposes.
Release of these coronial documents is restricted because they’re sensitive and private. The State Coroner can consent to release the documents if you’re a genuine researcher and the documents are reasonably necessary for your research (see next section).
To apply for consideration as a genuine researcher, please contact the Information Release Team for an application form.
Written applications will be considered by the State Coroner, to determine whether a person holds sufficient interest and qualifications to be approved as a genuine researcher and if the requested coronial documents are relevant to their research.
Fees will apply for copies of documents provided to genuine researchers.