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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

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A couple who did not live in the parish and whose only connection with the parish was that their granddaughter had attended the nursery and primary school there, applied to reserve a grave space in the churchyard. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: "As the applicants have no real connection to this church, and have no right to be buried in the churchyard, and have no wish for a Christian funeral, I am not satisfied that any case is made out for the reservation of a burial plot in this case."

In December 2015 the Chancellor granted a Faculty reserving a gravespace for the petitioners, who were not residents in the parish. The Chancellor placed a limit of 12 years on the reservation, as it was expected that the churchyard would be full within 12 years, and the Chancellor did not wish to prejudice the rights of burial of parishioners and others with a

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a grave space for the petitioner's mother (not a parishioner), there being only four or five empty grave spaces left in the churchyard.

The petitioners wished to reserve a double grave in the churchyard extension. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limited it to 10 years, having been advised that the churchyard was likely to have space for burials for only the next 10 years. The Chancellor concluded her judgment by saying: "It remains open to the petitioners to apply at any time for an extension of the 10-year period, for example, should their personal circumstances change or in the event that more space becomes available in the churchyard such as by the consecration of an extension to the churchyard or a policy on re-use of older graves being adopted."

The petitioners applied to reserve a double grave in the churchyard extension.  The churchyard was likely to have space for burials for only the next 10 years. Although the petitioners did not live in the parish and did not therefore have a legal right to be buried in the churchyard, the application was supported by the Incumbent and Churchwardens and the Parochial Church Council. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limiting the reservation of the grave to 10 years, taking the view that, "in the circumstances of this case it is not right to grant a faculty for longer than the churchyard is likely to remain open." The Chancellor left it open to the petitioners to apply for an extension in 10 years' time.

In 1997 the deceased had requested the reservation of the grave at the foot of the grave of her late husband. Owing to an administrative mistake the wrong plot number was allocated, but the deceased did not realise that the grave number was incorrect. At the funeral, the family realised that the grave for the deceased had been dug in the wrong place, but felt unable to do other than proceed with the funeral. They subsequently sought a faculty for exhumation and reinterment in the intended grave. The Chancellor was satisfied that a genuine mistake had been made, which could be regarded as an exception to the presumption of permanence of burial. He therefore granted a faculty for exhumation and reinterment, in order to correct the error.

The petitioner, who lived in Oxfordshire, wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard at Heptonstall in West Yorkshire, due to "her affection for literature and the proximity of the grave of Sylvia Plath". The priest-in-charge and Parochial Church Council had no objections to the reservation. There were in excess of 450 grave spaces available, and burials averaged five per year. After a discussion of the principles which a Chancellor should consider when deciding whether to exercise a discretion to grant a faculty to someone who had no legal right to be buried in a churchyard, the Chancellor determined that in this case there was no reason to refuse a faculty.

The petitioner's brother had died in 1982, aged 26, and was buried in the churchyard. His widow had subsequently had another partner for over 30 years, but had always wished to be buried in the same grave as her late husband. In 2001, the petitioner's mother had died, and her ashes were interred in her son's grave. The widow accepted this interment at the time, as she believed that the grave was single depth, and that she would have to be buried in the adjoining grave, which she believed her father-in-law had reserved for her. When her father-in-law died, the petitioner wished her father's ashes to be buried with the ashes of his wife in their son's grave. The son's widow objected, as she had discovered that the grave was double depth, and she thought that any further interment of ashes would inhibit her own burial in her late husband's grave.  The Chancellor determined that the petitioner's father's ashes could be buried in his son's grave in such a position as not to inhibit the interment of the widow's body in due course and that, if the widow were to petition to reserve a right to burial in the grave, a faculty would be granted.

The petitioner applied for a faculty giving her the right to be buried in the same grave as her former partner, with whom she had lived for 25 years until his death in 1986. The family of the deceased's first partner, who died in 1957, objected to the petitioner having the right to be buried in the same grave as their father, there having been a division between the two families. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty: "In my judgment the dispute between the parties weighs in favour of non-intervention."

In 1953 a faculty had been granted to the petitioner's grandfather to permit the erection of a memorial and the creation of a vault reserving to the petitioner's grandfather and the members of his family the right of burial in the vault. The present petitioner's grandparents and other deceased members of the family had since been buried in the vault. There were six shelves in the vault, of which four had been used. The petitioner wished to reserve the remaining two shelves for the burial of himself and his fiancee. The petitioner's cousin objected to a faculty being granted on the grounds that the reservations would prevent any further members of the family (who might predecease the petitioner and his fiancee) from being placed in the vault, and because she felt that the terms of the orginal faculty limited the right of interment to direct descendants only. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but directed that (a) a person who married into the family would be eligible to be buried in the vault; (b) an interment should be treated as including the placing of cremated remains in the vault; and (c) if "space remains on any given shelf for the seemly custody of the cremated remains of more than one person then it is permissible for there to be such remains of more than one person on each shelf in the vault."