It is a legal requirement in Ireland that every death that takes place in the State must be recorded and registered. Records of deaths in Ireland are held in the General Register Office, which is the civil repository for records relating to Births, Marriages, Civil Partnerships and Deaths in Ireland and in all Civil Registration Offices.
From 6th August 2014, under the Civil Registration (Certified Extract of Register of Deaths) Regulations 2014, there is an option to receive a copy of a death certificate omitting from the extract the certified cause of death or the duration of illness. Please be advised that this extract may not be accepted by some Departments or institutions which may have legitimate requirements to know the cause of death or duration of illness. You can apply for a copy of either death certificate to any Registrar of Births, Marriages, Civil Partnerships and Deaths or to the General Register Office.
The Civil Registration Act, 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a death. These changes took effect from December 5th 2005.
A death within the State can be registered with any Registrar, irrespective of where it occurs. Deaths must be registered as soon as possible after the death and no later than three months from the date of death.
Upon the death of a person following an illness, a registered medical practitioner who attended the deceased during the illness must complete and sign Part 1 of the Death Notification Form, stating to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the cause of death.
The registered medical practitioner must give the Death Notification Form to a relative or civil partner of the deceased, provided a relative or civil partner exists and that the relative or civil partner is capable of acting as a qualified informant.
The relative or civil partner must complete and sign Part 2 of the form, which concerns additional personal details of the deceased. Upon completion of Part 2, the relative or civil partner must give the form to any Registrar of Deaths as soon as possible but no later than three months from the date of death. In order to complete the registration, the relative or civil partner is required to sign the Register of Deaths in the presence of the Registrar.
For the purposes of registering a death, the term ‘relative or civil partner who is capable of acting as a qualified informant’ means a relative or partner of the deceased (whether by blood, marriage or civil partnership) who has knowledge of the required particulars in relation to the death and who is not incapable of complying with these procedures by reason of ill-health.
Where the registered medical practitioner can find no relative or civil partner of the deceased who is capable of acting as a qualified informant, the Death Notification Form should be given to the Chief Officer (or to an officer authorised by the Chief Officer) of the hospital (if the death occurred in the hospital) or to an Undertaker or other qualified informant in cases where the death did not occur in a hospital.
- A relative or civil partner of the deceased who has knowledge of the required particulars concerned. (Has a duty to register the death within 3 months)
- A person present at the death
- Any other person who has knowledge of the required particulars
- If the death occurred in a building used as a dwelling or a part of a building so used, any person who was in the building or part at the time of death
- If the death occurred in a hospital or other institution or in a building or a part of a building occupied by any other organisation or enterprise, the chief officer of the institution, organisation or enterprise (by whatever name called) or a person authorised by the chief officer to perform his or her functions
- A person who found the body of the person concerned
- A person who took charge of the body
- A person who procured the disposal of that body or
- Any other person who has knowledge of the death
(All qualified informants other than relatives of the deceased have a duty to
- Within 3 months of the death, give the Death Notification Form to a relative or civil partner of the deceased who is capable of registering the death.
- Register the death as soon as possible if no relative or civil partner of the deceased exists or can be found
- Register the death as soon as possible if more than 3 months have elapsed since the death and the date of the Death Notification Form was received by them)
Deaths occurring due to causes other than an illness, or where there was no medical attendance prior to the death, are referred to the Coroner who will decide if a post-mortem is held. The Coroner will make arrangements to have the death registered.
The Superintendent Registrar must give his written consent before a registrar can register a death that was not registered within one year from the date of death. Applications can be made to any Civil Registration Office.
There is no charge to register a death that occurs in Ireland. Fees are charged for a copy of a death certificate.
A certificate is issued for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost. Evidence it is for social welfare purposes is required, such as a note from the Department of Social Protection.
The fees charged for a certificate are as follows;
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €1 for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Social Protection required)
- €4 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
- €10 to have a certificate authenticated (only available from the General Register Office)
Where to apply
You can approach any Registrar or the General Register Office to get a copy of a Death Certificate. If you are registering the death, you can get copies of the death certificate at the same time. You do not necessarily have to wait for the Death Certificate before claiming social welfare benefits, as a copy of the Death notice from the newspapers will be accepted if there is a delay in getting the certificate.
Contact information for Registrars of Births, Marriages and Deaths throughout Ireland is available on the HSE’s website www.hse.ie
You can apply online for a copy of a certificate through the HSE website.