All coronial investigations require some form of autopsy once the deceased has been ascertained as a reportable death. Generally speaking, there are two broad categories of autopsy: the hospital or clinical autopsy, and the medico-legal or coronial autopsy.

The capacity to perform any internal investigation on a deceased in the hospital or clinical setting rests on the consent of the relatives of the deceased, while the capacity to perform any internal investigation on the body of the deceased in a coronial setting is based solely on the coronial order.

In fact, the Coroner is given the right to order an autopsy as part of the death investigation, and may do so irrespective of the wishes of the family. Autopsies generally take three forms: external examination of the body, and/or a partial internal autopsy, and/or a full internal autopsy.

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