Objective: To compare suicide registration in eight European countries and provide recommendations for quality improvement. Method: Qualitative data were collected from country experts using a structured questionnaire. Results: Suicide registration was based on the medico-legal system in six countries and the coronial system in two. Differences not only between, but also within these two systems emerged. Several elements crucial to the consistency of suicide registration were identified. Conclusion: A precise model for recording suicides should include: an accurate legal inquiry and clarification of suicidal intent; obligatory forensic autopsy for injury deaths; reciprocal communication among authorities; electronic data transmission; final decision-makers' access to information; trained coders. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.