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Registering a death

A death must be registered in the register office within the district where it occurred within five calendar days.

Registering a death

It is a legal requirement to register a death in the district where it occurred within 5 calendar days unless the Coroner is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.

To register a death, you'll need to book an appointment with the register office, which you can do online.

Arranging a quick funeral (for cultural or religious reasons)

If a death has occurred in the borough and the funeral needs to take place within a short timeframe, due to cultural or religious reasons, you can use our out-of-hours emergency bereavement service.

To use this service:

  • you will need a medical certificate or cause of death
  • the death must not require referral to the coroner for investigation
  • you must make an appointment to register the death as soon as possible during the following week
  • you can contact the out-of-hours emergency bereavement service using the contact details below.

Contact details:

  • Saturday, 10am to 3pm: 020 8314 6000
  • Sunday and bank holidays, 10am to 12.30pm: 020 8314 6000

If inconvenient to go to the district where the death occurred

You are strongly advised to contact the relevant register office directly as this is likely to be quicker and more straightforward.

However, you can choose to book a death registration appointment at any other register office in England or Wales to make a declaration which will be forwarded to the correct district. If you make a death declaration the required information will be sent to Lewisham on your behalf.

Please be aware if you choose to do this, you will not be issued with any documents immediately. You will need to contact the register office where the death took place to arrange payment for any certificates.

It is important to note that this could delay the funeral arrangements.

Who can register the death?

  • any relative
  • a person who was present at the death
  • or the person who is arranging the funeral (not the funeral director).

In certain circumstances, others can register a death. For advice please contact us on 020 8690 2128.

Information we need

The registrar will interview you in private and will ask for the following information about the person who has died:

  • the date and place of death
  • their date and place of birth
  • their occupation
  • their usual address
  • the name, occupation and date of birth of the surviving spouse/partner (if the person who has died was married or in a civil partnership)
  • whether they were receiving a pension or other public funds.

Documents you will need to bring

  • the medical certificate of cause of death issued by the doctor or hospital treating the person who has died (this is essential – the registrar can do nothing without it)
  • details of any pension or allowance the deceased was receiving.

If the death occurred in Lewisham Hospital the medical certificate will usually be sent to us directly from the Hospital Bereavement Officer.

If the death was referred to the coroner, the relevant paperwork will be sent directly from the coroner's office to the Register Office.

To help ensure the information recorded is accurate it would be useful if you could also bring supporting documentation with you to the appointment. Accurate records reduce the need for corrections in the future and any inconvenience and potential costs that may be incurred. Please refer to the list below:

Supporting documents for the deceased:

  • passport
  • proof of address (i.e. utility bill)
  • birth certificate
  • change of name deed (if applicable)
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate (if applicable).

Supporting documents for the informant:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • proof of address (e.g. utility bill).

Documents you will receive:

  • a 'green form', which enables you to arrange the funeral
  • a form for social security purposes
  • you can purchase any number of death certificates at £11 each at the time of booking your appointment by credit or debit card.

You will need a death certificate to be able to access any property, pensions, insurance and bank accounts belonging to the deceased.

You can buy copies of a death certificate after the day of registration. These cost £11.

Save time with the Tell Us Once service

This service is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Tell Us Once service can reduce the amount of time you need to spend contacting government departments and organisations after a death.

When you register a death, the registrar will capture the deceased's details on the Tell Us Once national database.

The registrar will issue you with a unique reference number and instructions on how to complete this yourself at home either on-line or by telephone.

Correcting a death registration

If an error is made on registering the death such as a misspelt name, you can apply to have the death certificate amended.


Register Office

368 Lewisham High Street, Hither Green, London, SE13 6LQ
Email: register.office@lewisham.gov.uk
Opening hours:

Monday and Tuesday 9.10am–4.15pmWednesday 10.10am–4.15pmThursday and Friday 9.10am–4.15pmSaturday by appointment onlyPhones answered: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm

Telephone: 020 8690 2128

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