Troubleshooting suggestions and responses to frequently asked questions are provided below to assist NCIS users.


General troubleshooting


Why is my login screen blank? 

If your previous NCIS session has expired and you have tried to login from the same tab, this can result in a blank screen. 

Close the existing tab and open the NCIS login page again in a new tab. Contact the NCIS Unit if you are still unable to login.


What do I do if I get an error when using NCIS search screens? 

Error 503 or 504

Broad searches may return too many results for the NCIS to display. This is usually indicated by error 503 or 504. Limit the number of results in a search by narrowing your search parameters. This can be done by:  

  • adjusting the time period in which cases are to be included (rather than searching all years at once, perhaps choose 5-year periods)  

  • reducing the number of jurisdictions included in search (search only a few jurisdictions at one time)

  • reconsider the terms that have been included in document searches (very broad or common words such as “death”, “blood”, “deceased” may return a large number of possible results. 

Selecting a large number of fields in the Result details tab may return too many fields for the NCIS to display. Limit the number of fields selected in the Result details tab to only those you require.

Permission denied 

Access to open cases is restricted to certain users only. Ensure closed is selected in Case status field when running a search.

Access to jurisdictions can vary between users. Select only the jurisdictions you have access to. Contact the NCIS Unit if you are unsure of your jurisdictional access levels.

If the error cannot be resolved by following these steps, email the following information to (External link)

  • a screenshot of the error message 

  • what you were doing or searching for 

  • the time and date of the error.


What if I don’t receive the multi-factor authentication (MFA) code? 

Check your junk or spam folder in case the MFA email has mistakenly been filed there. If you do not receive your MFA code within 10 minutes, send an email to (External link) with the date and time you attempted to log in and our team will investigate the issue.


Frequently asked questions

Access and user accounts


How do I get access to the NCIS?

Direct access is provided via NCIS Online, the database's web interface, and is available to approved users only.

Direct access is available to approved death investigators, court coders and third party researchers. See Request access for further information and application processes.

Members of the public, the media and private organisations are not eligible to apply for direct NCIS access. Organisations with an interest in death and injury prevention may be eligible to request a data report


How do I change my NCIS password? 

Log in to the NCIS and navigate to the Admin menu. Select Change password. You will be prompted to re-enter your current password and create a new password conforming to the required standards. 

Passwords are valid for 90 days and must be changed prior to expiry to ensure your access is not interrupted. You should receive reminder emails when your password is approaching its expiry date. Contact the NCIS Unit if you are having issues changing your password or accessing your account. 


Why does the system sometimes log me out? 

The NCIS is calibrated to log users out after 30 minutes of inactivity for security reasons. The timeout counter is visible in the bottom right corner of the screen when logged in. To avoid being logged out, activity (such as mouse clicks or navigating between NCIS screens) must occur within this time window.


Why do I have multiple accounts? 

A user may have multiple NCIS accounts if they are working in two different roles. For example, someone who is a death investigator and a third party researcher. Third party researchers may also have multiple NCIS accounts if they are working on multiple projects. Each project requires a separate NCIS account as they may have different approvals for data access. Each NCIS account must only be used for the approved purpose of the research project or work associated with it.


I am a named researcher on the project, why don’t I have an online account to access data?

NCIS projects can have two types of authorised researchers: online users and data-only users. Online users have an NCIS Online account. Data-only users are eligible to view and use extracted NCIS data but do not have a NCIS Online account themselves. Contact your principal researcher or the NCIS Unit to discuss obtaining NCIS Online access for your project. 


Why can’t I see certain case information?

Certain case information may not be available depending on your access level. For example, some users do not have access to open case information. NCIS guidelines provide for different levels of access depending on your user type and your project's approvals if you are a third party researcher. See Research project support for more information about data access levels.


Searching in NCIS Online 


Why can’t I find a specific case? 

There are a variety of reasons a user may be unable to identify a specific case in NCIS Online: 

  • Access levels dictate the data visible in the system to users. Access to open cases and cases in certain jurisdictions may not be available to you depending on your access permissions. Contact the NCIS Unit if you have an enquiry about your access levels. 

  • Search criteria selected may not match the coding for the specific case of interest. If using the Find case screen, note that spelling variations for names may impact the results. See How to use the system + search for further guidance on using the Find case screen and other search functions. 

  • Restricted cases are not accessible to users of the NCIS and are not returned in search results. Cases contained in the NCIS can be restricted at the discretion of the State or Chief Coroner. See Explanatory notes for further information about restricted cases. 

  • No investigation may have occurred if the case was not reported to the coroner or if the case was withdrawn. Coroners only investigate cases that fit the criteria specified in their legislation. See Explanatory notes for further information about reportable deaths.

  • Cases are removed from the NCIS if they do not meet the criteria for a reportable death or if they are outside the NCIS parameters. See Explanatory notes for further information about excluded cases.


I’ve received an error message saying my search is too complex. 

The following message appears when too many fields have been selected to return on the Result details tab. Untick some of the selections and try searching again. 


I have set up my Query design search but received an error message saying some fields have an error. 

If running a keyword search in attached reports, check that at least one report type is selected in the Case details tab. An error will occur if no report type is selected.  

This error can also occur in the Cause of death keyword search; ensure at least one of the boxes has been checked to run the search.


Case information and data quality 


Why is no report uploaded for autopsy and toxicology investigations?  

Several jurisdictions do not have the capability to attach electronic copies of procedure reports to the NCIS due to technology or system processes. The electronic report will be uploaded to the case if it becomes available.


Why are there multiple cases for the same death? 

The NCIS contains multiple cases for the same death where simultaneous investigations were completed by coroners in two or more jurisdictions. Once identified, the NCIS case will include an indication of whether the case is the primary or auxiliary case. The primary case is assigned to the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, and the auxiliary case is assigned to the jurisdiction where the death occurred.

Multiple cases within the same jurisdiction are not included in this protocol. When identified and verified by a coroner, subsequent cases are deleted from the NCIS with all applicable documents uploaded to the retained case.


What do I do if I notice an error with the coding or attached documentation in a case? 

You can notify the NCIS Unit of data issues identified within the system. Click the Submit data issue link in the top right corner of the case screen to complete a form about the error you have identified. If the error pertains to an attached document, submit the issue from the Case details screen and select the checkbox labelled Issue with attached report.

Data issues are regularly reviewed by the NCIS Unit. You can request to receive a response from the NCIS Unit within the form. 


Why isn’t the case closed in NCIS when I can access a copy of the finding on a court website? 

There may be a delay between the closure of the case by the coroner and in the NCIS due to the court's capacity to complete the coding to close the case in the NCIS. 

The NCIS continues to work with all jurisdictions to ensure that cases are closed as quickly as is feasible.  


Where can I find information about system updates and outages? 

Refer to system updates for key update information.  

Join our mailing list to receive news about the NCIS, including system updates and notifications about upcoming system outages. 

Contact the NCIS Unit to report an unplanned system outage.


Coronial process 


How long does it take for a coronial investigation to be finalised and a case to be closed in NCIS? 

The length of coronial investigations varies, and may be influenced by a variety of factors, including the complexity of the investigation, court resourcing, whether an inquest is held or whether the coroner is required to await the outcome of criminal or other proceedings before making their findings. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years before an investigation is finalised. 

The NCIS does not form part of the coronial process, and the NCIS Unit does not determine the length of time before case closure occurs. The Case status remains open in the NCIS until the investigation is completed by the coroner and the coding of all relevant fields is completed by the court.


Fatal facts


How do I search for case summaries and recommendations in Fatal facts?

Refer to Fatal facts for search guidance, frequently asked questions and information about the scope and limitations of the search tool.