All deaths must be registered within 8 days of their occurrence. The duty to provide the details for registration rests with a relative of the deceased. If no such relative is available, the duty may be performed by:

  • any person present at the death
  • the deceased’s executor
  • another legal representative
  • the occupier of the premises where the death took place.

Deaths may be registered in any registration office in Scotland

Contact your nearest office in advance to make an appointment.

A Directory of Registrars containing details of all registration offices in Scotland is also available on the General Register Office website.


The following documents should be taken to the Registration office:-

  • The medical certificate of cause of death, Form 11, (normally given by the deceased person’s doctor, or by the hospital in which the death occurred);
  • The deceased’s birth certificate, if available
  • If applicable, the deceased’s marriage certificate, if available;
  • If applicable, the deceased’s civil partnership certificate, if available;
  • The deceased’s National Health Service medical card, if available;
  • Any book, certificate or document relating to any pension or allowance, which the deceased received from government/public funds.

The Healthcare Improvement Scotland will independently review random samples of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). If the certificate you bring in to the registrar is selected, registration cannot be completed until the review is finished. In some cases, this may mean that you have to return to the registrar to collect the Form 14.  In all cases, the registrar will contact you when the review is completed.

The reviews are designed to:

  • Improve the accuracy of MCCD’s
  • Provide better quality information about causes of death so that health services can be better prepared for the future, and
  • Ensure that the process around death certification are robust and have appropriate safeguards in place.

If the MCCD you bring in is selected for review, you will be informed of this by the registrar when you go to register the death.  You may have already received information on the new arrangements, however, the registrar will explain the review process to you.

The MCCD’s that are reviewed will fall under 2 categories:

  • Level 1 – the medical reviewer will check the MCCD and speak to the certifying doctor.  This should take up to 1 working day.
  • Level 2 – there will be a smaller number of Level 2 reviews where the medical reviewer will speak to the certifying doctor and also check relevant medical records. This should take up to 3 working days.

If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of the review, you can contact Healthcare Improvement Scotland Death Certification Review Service directly by any of the following methods: Health Care Improvement Scotland May 2014


Last updated: Thursday, September 16, 2021 11:33 AM