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Death Certification

Death Certification in Scotland is Changing….

Following the introduction of new legislation, changes are being made to the way deaths are registered in Scotland. All deaths in Scotland need to be certified by a doctor who completes a form called a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). This is also known as Form 11.

From the 13th May 2015, Form 11’s must be registered with the Registrar prior to a funeral taking place. A death can be registered in any registration office in Scotland within eight days of the date of death. Most registration offices operate an appointment system so you should contact your local office as soon as possible.

It is important that you try and register the death at the earliest opportunity. This is because a random selection of Form 11 certificates will be selected for review from the 13th May 2015 onwards. These reviews are designed to check the quality and accuracy of certificates and to improve how this information is recorded. The reviews will be conducted by a team of Medical Reviewers, all of whom are experienced doctors.

What happens if my MCCD is selected for review?

If the death you are registering is selected for review you may not be able to complete the death registration immediately. The registrar will explain the review process including timescales and will contact you when the review is complete.

You can still make initial funeral arrangements while the review is underway. However, the funeral itself cannot take place until the review is completed and a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) is produced by the Registrar.

If you need the funeral to go ahead quickly you can apply for Advance Registration for any of the circumstances below:

  • Religious/cultural reasons (for example, local tradition or faith requirements to bury a person’s body quickly);
  • Compassionate reasons (where delays would cause significant and unnecessary distress);
  • Practical/administrative reasons (for example, family have travelled from abroad to attend the funeral)

The Registrar will help you to complete the Advance Registration form (if it is required) and keep you informed of progress. If the Advance Registration application is successful, you will be given a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) from the Registrar.

For further information about the changes to Death Certification, please see links below.

Death Certification Review: Advance Registration Available for Registrations selected for review from 13 May 2015

Healthcare Improvement Scotland - Death certification resources and publications

The Scottish Government - Burial, cremation and death certification

Registering a Death - Advice and Local Authority Links


Local Authority websites provide information about burial services, registering a death and other related advice. 




National Records of Scotland (NRS)

The Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death


NHS Inform

Practical advice after a death


  • Immediately after a death
  • Medical certificate of cause of death
  • Viewing
  • Organ donation


Bereavement Services and Resources

Please visit Bereavement web page