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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



Part of the cremated remains of the petitioner's late partner had been interred in the churchyard and part in a grave reserved in the cemetery by the petitioner. The petitioner applied for permission to exhume the ashes in the churchyard and reinter them in the grave in the cemetery. The petitioner's estranged daughters had been under the impression that all the ashes had been interred in the churchyard, in accordance with the deceased's wishes. One of the daughters, on discovering what had happened, petitioned to have the deceased's ashes exhumed from the cemetery and reinterred in the churchyard. The petitioner thereupon sought an amendment of his petition to preserve the status quo. The Chancellor decided that the status quo should be maintained, there being no sufficient justification for allowing either exhumation.

The petitioners' father died in 1998 and his cremated remains were interred in the southern end of the churchyard, near the grave of his grandparents. The petitioners' mother died in 2020, having made a codicil to her will, in which she expressed a desire to be buried and not cremated. She was buried in the burial area at the northern end of the churchyard. The petitioners now wished to move their father's cremated remains to the grave of their mother, in order to fulfil the hope expressed by their mother in the codicil that her husband's remains might be taken up and buried in her grave. The Chancellor did not consider that there were exceptional reasons to justify the grant of a faculty for exhumation and reinterment: "Mr Cooper is already buried close to family members and so the family grave consideration does not give rise to exceptional circumstances. "

The petitioner's late daughter had died in a road traffic in 1966, aged just 16 months. She was buried in an unmarked grave. The petitioner and his late wife had always wanted to be buried with their daughter, but the churchyard at Boultham had been closed for burials since their daughter's death, so that the petitioner's wife had been buried in Newport Cemetery in Lincoln. The petitioner wished to exhume his daughter's remains and inter them in a grave reserved near to her mother's grave. The Chancellor was not satisfied that with the passage of time it would now be possible to recover any remains of such a small child buried 53 years previously, and he declined to grant a faculty.

An application was made for a faculty to exhume the cremated remains of James Thomas Padgett (interred in 1988) from the churchyard of St. Helen's Edlington, with a view to the remains being reinterred with the ashes of his wife, which were interreded in 2007 in Newport Cemetery, nearer to the home of the deceased's daughter, who also wished to have her ashes interred in due course in the same grave in the cemetery. The applicant stated that her osteo-arthritis now prevented her from travelling long distances. The Chancellor, applying the principles in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002], did not find any special circumstances to justify him granting a faculty.

The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the remains of her daughter and husband from Bulkington churchyard, in Warwickshire, with a view to them being reinterred in the churchyard at Bacton in Norfolk. The petitioner's daughter had lived only one day and was buried at Bulkington fifty years ago. Her husband's cremated remains had been interred there nineteen years ago. Seven years ago, the petitioner, who had suffered serious health issues, had moved to Bacton to be near her family, and she wished in due course to be buried with the remains of her daughter and husband at Bacton, where her remaining family would be able to maintain the grave. She was concerned about being unable to visit the churchyard in Warwickshire regularly and maintain the grave there. The Chancellor, applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, could not find sufficient exceptional grounds in this case to justify the grant of a faculty.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorise a shallow excavation in and around a late nineteenth century grave in Gorton churchyard, in order to establish whether the Moors Murderer Ian Brady buried something in a hessian sack in the grave.

The petitioners wished to have the cremated remains of their mother exhumed from the grave of her parents in one part of the churchyard and reinterred with the remains of the petitioners' father in another part of the same churchyard. Their father had expressed a wish to be buried with his wife, but the petitioners felt there would be difficulties in interring their father's ashes into the grave containing the remains of their mother and her parents. The Chancellor could find no special reasons for allowing exhumation. It would be possible to inter the ashes of the petitioners' father in the existing grave where his wife's remains were interred, thus fulfilling his wishes. Although there was insufficient space on the existing memorial to add the petitioners' father's name and dates of birth and death, the petitioners could lay a plaque in memory of their father on the grave, or else replace the existing memorial with a new one containing inscriptions in respect of the four people whose remains were interred in the grave. The petition was dismissed.

The petitioner wished to exhume the ashes of her late husband and reinter them in the grave of her parents within the same churchyard. As Chancellor found that the petitioner had been misinformed as to where her husband's ashes had to be buried -  in a newly created garden of remembrance. The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow the ashes to be buried in the family grave.

The petitioner's father's body had been buried in the churchyard in 2014. A double depth grave had been requested, but it had not been possible to dig double depth. When the petitioner's mother died in 2017, a request was made for burial in an adjoining grave, but the petitioner was informed that it would not be possible, as there were tree roots in the way, so the petitioner's mother was buried elsewhere in the churchyard. The petitioner subsequently sought advice from an arboriculturist, who advised that it would be possible to dig an adjacent grave without harm to the tree. The Petitioner therefore sought permission to exhume her mother's body and inter it in the grave next to her father. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances to justify granting a faculty for exhumation and reinterment.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her father exhumed from the churchyard and interred along with the body of her mother in the nearby cemetery, where her brother was also buried. The Chancellor decided that this was a case where an exception could be allowed to the general rule against allowing exhumation, since he considered it a mistake for the family, on the parish priest's advice, to have had the father's cremated remains interred in the churchyard, when the family knew that the mother was against cremation and that further coffin burials in the churchyard were not possible; furthermore, the remains of the three family members who had died – father, mother and son – would then be together.