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Exhumations

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In 1987 the petitioner had reserved for herself a cremation plot in the cemetery immediately next to the plot in which were interred the cremated remains of her parents. In 2016 she noticed that an interment had taken place in the plot which she had reserved. This situation had come about because in 2015 the burial authority had by mistake granted an exclusive right of burial in the same plot to someone else. The petitioner therefore applied for a faculty for exhumation of the cremated remains interred in the plot she had reserved in 1987. The Chancellor determined that this was an appropriate case in which a faculty should be granted, owing to the administrative error which had occurred.

A faculty was granted for exhumation and re-interment in the same grave at a lower level, in order to provide room for further interments.

The petitioner's father died in 1985 and his body was interred in West Norwood Cemetery. The petitioner's mother originally intended to be buried next to her husband. The petitioner's mother died in 2014. Before she died, she expressed to the petitioner a wish to be buried in a family grave in Ireland and to have her husband's body exhumed, cremated and buried with her in the family grave. Considering the the guidelines set out in the judgment in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor determined that reinterment in a family grave, and the consequent release of two grave spaces in South London, where burial space was at a premium, would allow him to treat this application as an exception to the general policy against exhumation, and he according granted a faculty.

Faculty for exhumation refused. Moving remains nearer to where the family lives not an exceptional circumstance to justify the grant of a Faculty.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her mother, who died in 1978, exhumed from Wolseley Road Cemetery, in order that the remains might be reinterred with the cremated remains of her father (whose remains had not yet been interred) in a new cemetery at Stile Cop. Applying the principles laid down by the Court of Arches in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the determined that this was not a case where there were special circumstances which would justify the grant of a faculty.

Cremated remains of two people had been buried in a grave already reserved for someone else. The Chancellor granted a Faculty for exhumation and reinterment in another part of the cemetery, on the ground that a genuine mistake had been made. Normally, the Chancellor would have directed that the exhumation should take place as soon as possible, but in this he acceded to the request of the petitioner, out of respect for his particular faith, that the exhumation should not take place within one year of the interment, whilst at the same time expressing the hope that an earlier date might be agreed,in order to alleviate the concerns of the person who had reserved the grave.