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Coroners Statistics 2022: England and Wales – an overview

18 October 2023

The 2022 Coroners Statistics were released by the Ministry of Justice on 11 May 2023. The annual report publishes statistics of deaths reported to coroners in England and Wales in 2022.

The 2022 statistical year demonstrated a return towards 'normality' and a recovery from the artificial increase in registered deaths in England and Wales during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, (Coroners Statistics 2022: England and Wales).

Deaths and Inquests

In 2022, the total number of registered deaths was 577,177, marking a 3% increase from 2021. Of those registered deaths, 208,430 were reported to coroners. This is a 7% increase from the previous year and is the highest level since 2019, signalling a return to pre-Covid levels of reported deaths.

36,273 inquests were opened in 2022, an increase of 11% from 2021 and the highest number of inquests opened since 1995. Inquest cases represented 17% of all deaths reported to coroners in 2022, a statistic that remains the same from the previous year. There were 476 inquests held with juries in 2022, an increase of 11% compared to 2021 and a decrease of 4% compared to the 5-year pre-pandemic average.


The data reveals a 10% increase in inquest conclusions recorded during 2022:

  • 35,643 inquest conclusions were recorded; this is the highest level since 2016.
  • The largest increase was seen in natural causes (40% increase), accident/misadventure (14% increase) and unclassified conclusions (7% increase).
  • The most common short form conclusions were death by accident/misadventure (25%), natural causes (14%) and suicide (14%).
  • Unclassified conclusions (including narrative conclusions) made up 24% of all inquest conclusions in 2022.
  • The number of suicide conclusions increased by 2% compared to 2021, to the highest level since 1995.

The increase was in males (3% compared to 2021), with the number in females falling (decreasing by 1% compared to 2021). This increase may be due to the change in the standard of proof established by the Supreme Court in the case of Maughan.[1] (R (on the application of Maughan) (AP) (Appellant) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (Respondent) ).

  • Industrial disease conclusions fell by 7% to the lowest level since 1997.
  • Natural cause conclusions increased by 40%.

403 Prevention of Future Death ("PFD") reports were issued by coroners in 2022, representing an 8% decrease compared to 2021. The reports included mental health related deaths, community healthcare, care home related deaths and hospital deaths (resulting from clinical procedures and medical management).


Male deaths accounted for 64% of all conclusions recorded in 2022, a 1% decrease from 2021. Males accounted for 57% of deaths reported, but 64% of all conclusions recorded – suggesting that males are more likely to die in circumstances that lead to an inquest. Of all inquests completed in 2022, 57% related to persons who were aged 65 or over, with 5% relating to persons under 25 years of age.


The estimated average time taken to process an inquest is 30 weeks, a 1 week decrease in comparison to 2021. The time taken to process an inquest is still higher than pre-pandemic timescales where the maximum time taken to process an inquest was 27 weeks.


  • The North West reported the highest number of inquests opened in 2022 at 6578 – 25% of the reported death figure for the same location.
  • Comparatively, the North East reported the lowest number of inquests opened in 2022 at 1708 – 12% of the reported death figure.
  • The North West, West Midlands and Wales reported a 20% increase in the number of inquests undertaken between 2021 and 2022.
  • London and the North East reported a 3% and 1% decrease in the number of inquests undertaken respectively.
  • The North West also issued the highest number of PFDs and inquest conclusions.


The yearly report remains a useful indicator of the national coronial picture and demonstrates trends in inquest conclusions, themes for prevention of future deaths and timescales for dealing with cases. 

The DWF Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations Team has a wealth of knowledge and experience with inquests and can advise on the entire process. If you require any further information regarding the above, please contact Simon.Belfield@dwf.law or Amanda.Lea@dwf.law

Authors: Jorja Vernon & Amanda Lea

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