A post-mortem is carried out in order to establish a person’s medical cause of death. They are carried out by pathologists who are specialist doctors. The pathologist will ordinarily be instructed by the Coroner.
Families and loved-ones can ask the Coroner to be told when and where a post-mortem is to be carried out. If you ask then you have the right to be told. You have the right to then attend the post-mortem, or to have someone attend on your behalf.
You may not wish for a post-mortem to be carried out at all. This could be for any reason, including religious or cultural concerns. Where that is the case you have the right to tell the Coroner, explaining why it is you object. The Coroner must then consider your concerns. Ultimately the decision will be for the Coroner to make and he or she may act against your wishes.
If no post-mortem is carried out then a person’s cause of death may never be known.
If you are unhappy with any decision a Coroner makes, including about a post-mortem, then it may be possible to challenge that decision. Such a challenge would most likely need to be brought by way of something called judicial review. That would involve a judge or judges in the High Court considering whether the decision had been lawfully made.
If you have any concerns at all about the issue of post-mortems then you should obtain legal advice.