Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Exhumations

Display:
Sort By:

Faculty refused for exhumation from the cemetery at Battle and reinterment in the cemetery at Petworth, near the petitioner's home, the Chancellor finding no special reason to allow exhumation within the principles laid down by the Court of Arches in Re Blagdon.

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 petitioner applied for a faculty for the exhumation of the remains of her mother, interred in Mortlake Cemetery in 1978, and for reinterment in a cemetery in the USA, near to where the petitioner lived. The Petitioner was the deceased's only surviving child and had lived in the USA since 1953. The Petitioner's children and their families all lived near to her  and an area in the cemetery near to her home had been reserved for the burial of members of her family, where one of her daughters was already buried. After considering the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Deputy Chancellor determined that there were exceptional circumstances allowing her to grant a faculty for exhumation, so that all the members of the family could be buried together in the same cemetery.

In January 1995 the cremated remains of Harold Bristeir were interred in plot 15000 in the cemetery. It was the intention at the time that when his wife Joan Bristier died, her remains would be interred in the same plot. In March 1995, Mrs. Bristeir's brothers, Michael and Roland Durber reserved rights of burial in the adjacent plot 14999. When Roland died in 2011, his remains were interred in plot 15000, owing to a mistake by the burial authority. This mistake came to light in 2017, when Mrs. Bristeir died, and the error was only discovered on the day before her funeral. In the circumstances, Mrs. Bristeir's daughter reluctantly agreed for her mother's ashes going in plot 14999. However, she later regretted that decision in haste and applied for the exhumation of her mother's ashes and Roland's ashes and their reinterment in the correct plots. The Chancellor found that, owing to the mistake by the burial authority, he was justified in allowing the two exhumations and reinterments.

Faculty granted for exhumation. The judgment contains a lengthy discussion of what can amount to "exceptional circumstances".

The Petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of her late mother from one plot in the consecrated area of the cemetery and reinter them in another consecrated plot in the same cemetery. The Petitioner's father had died in 2006 and had been buried in the cemetery. In 2007 the Petitioner purchased a plot for her mother near to her father's plot, and when her mother died in 2010 the Petitioner arranged for her mother's remains to be buried in the separate plot which she had purchased, even though her mother had expressed a wish, shortly before she died, to be buried with her husband. The Petitioner subsequently felt guilty at not having carried out her mother's wishes and now wished to have her mother's remains interred with her father's.The Deputy Chancellor decided that there were no special circumstances within the guidelines laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] to justify him in granting a faculty.

Faculty refused for exhumation and retention of cremated remains at home, but faculty granted for exhumation and reinterment of ashes in Roman Catholic churchyard.

 

The petitioner, a Buddhist, applied for three faculties to permit the exhumation of the remains of his brother, who died in 1991, his grandmother, who died in 1993, and his father, who died in 2014, all Budhists, from the consecrated area of Putney Vale Cemetery, for reinterment in the unconsecrated part of the cemetery. After the third interment, the petitioner had been advised by his family that, according to Buddhist tradition, it was inappropriate to bury Buddhists in consecrated ground and that it would cause "bad Karma" for the family. The petitioners sought to rectify what his family perceived to be a mistake. Faculties granted by the Chancellor: " I am glad that I have felt able to grant these petitions. The faith of Church of England is very different to the Buddhist faith and its views about the appropriate treatment of the remains of those who have died evidently diverge but the views of Mr Khiet Kham Hong and his family are genuinely held and are appropriately treated with respect."

 

The petitioner, a Vietnamese, wished to exhume the remains of his father, which had been buried in Putney Vale Cemetery according to Vietnamese Buddhist rites, and to re-inter the remains in another part of the cemetery, next to the grave of his mother. The reason the Petitioner gave for his petition was that, "According to our Vietnamese tradition and culture, the eldest son of the family will have to carry out the exhumation of the deceased father's body 10 years after it was first buried, and then to re-bury it." The Chancellor granted a faculty. The judgment includes a consideration of Articles 8 and 9 of the  European Convention on Human Rights.