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Exhumations

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The petitioners applied for a faculty to authorise the exhumation of their father's ashes and reinterment in the plot containing the ashes of their mother. The father had died in 2006. His ashes had been buried in the cemetery and a memorial placed over the plot. Space was left for the name of the mother on the memorial. When the mother died in 2017, it was discovered that the father's ashes had been buried only two feet deep, so it was not possible to inter a further casket of ashes in the same plot. The petitioners therefore had their mother's ashes buried at double depth in a nearby plot and applied for a faculty to move their father's ashes to the same plot. The Chancellor decided that this was a case where he could exercise his discretion in allowing exhumation and reinterment, on the basis that the burial authority had made a mistake by failing to make it clear that a further burial in the first plot would not be possible.

Upon consideration of the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002], the Acting Chancellor granted a faculty to permit the exhumation of the remains of the petitioners' mother from Hickling Cemetery, in order that the remains might be interred with the remains of the petitioners' father in Whatton-in-the-Vale churchyard: "The combination of the initial mistake as to whether the burial took place in consecrated ground, the intention to re-inter together in a family grave and the unanimous family wishes together create sufficient good and proper reasons for this exceptional order to be made."

The petitioner wished to move the cremated remains of her mother and her brother from one cemetery to another. The Chancellor could identify no exceptional circumstances which could enable him properly to exercise my discretion to grant the Petition and therefore refused it.

The petitioner sought permission to exhume the remains of her child (who had died, aged five, from a brain tumour), in order to have the remains cremated. She then wished to keep the cremated remains at home. The funeral had involved a humanist ceremony, but the remains had been buried in a consecrated part of the cemetery. The child's parents were unaware that the grave was in consecrated ground. The petitioner had subsequently regretted the interment and had found the situation difficult to come to terms with. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty. The judgment contains a discussion as to whether Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights applied to this case.

After considering the principles in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found special reasons why he should permit the exhumation of the remains of a young person of Chinese descent and reinterment in another section of the cemetery where all other members of her family and members of the local Chinese community were buried or had reserved graves.

The Petitioner applied for a faculty to exhume her father's ashes and reinter them in a different part of the churchyard. The undertaker's gravedigger had dug the existing grave too close to the footpath for the proposed memorial, so that there would have been a danger of the grave and memorial being trodden on by members of the public. This was causing distress to the petitioner's mother. The Chancellor authorised the exhumation and reinterment.

The petitioner wished to exhume from the churchyard the cremated remains of his father and to have the remains reinterred in a cemetery with the remains of his mother, who had subsequently died. Applying the principles in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found no special circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty for exhumation.

Faculty granted for exhumation, to allow the cremated remains of the deceased to be placed with the remains of his wife in a family grave in a different churchyard.

The Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances to justify him granting a faculty for the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner's father from Kenilworth Cemetery and reinterment with the cremated remains of the petitioner's mother in a grave in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Kenilworth, which already contained the remains of the petitioner's aunt. At the time of the father's death the petitioner had been told mistakenly that burial in the churchyard was not possible, whilst in fact it was possible to inter into an existing grave which would become a family grave.

The petitioner's father had died in 2005 and his cremated remains had been interred in the cemetery. His widow, during her lifetime, had expressed a wish to have her cremated remains buried in a more accessible part of the cemetery and for her husband's cremated remains to be exhumed and reinterred in the same grave as her own remains. The widow died in 2017. The petitioner applied for a faculty for exhumation and reinterment of her father's ashes, even though it would be possible to inter the ashes of her mother in the plot where her father's ashes were interred. The Chancellor determined that there were no special circumstances, within the guidelines set out in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam. 299, to justify granting a faculty for exhumation.