Judgment Search

Downloads

Click on one of the following to view and/or download the relevant document:

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

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.

Exhumations

Display:

A mother wished to have her son's body exhumed from the churchyard of St. Patrick Earlswood and reinterred in a churchyard in Ireland, where she now lived. Here reason for the request was that if her son;s body remained in England, she would have difficulty in visiting and tending the grave regularly. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. The petitioner had not shown any exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty.

The petitioner, on behalf of herself and her six siblings, sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of her brother's cremated remains from their parents' grave and reinterment in a nearby new grave. The deceased's daughter, believing it had been her father's wish to be interred with his parents, had arranged the interment without consulting the deceased's siblings, who only learned about the interment after it had taken place. It caused them great distress that there had been another interment in their parents' grave. The Chancellor was satisfied that there were exceptional circumstances to justify exhumation, as the grave had "become a focus of disquiet and grievance amongst the family members with a real degree of distress to some."

The petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of his father and reinter them in the same churchyard in the grave of his mother, who died after his father. Shortly before he died, the petitioner's father had told the petitioner that he wanted to be cremated. The petitioner's mother had expressed regret after her husband's death that she had been unable to persuade her husband to be buried, so that he could be buried in the same grave as herself. But the retired priest who carried out the interment of her husband's ashes had assured the mother that, when she was buried, it would be possible to put her husband's cremated remains into her grave. The petitioner was also reassured by either the priest or the funeral director, that there would be no problem. The Chancellor determined that there had been an innocent mistake on the part of the retired priest, and further that there was a misunderstanding by all the family, amounting to a mistake, as to what they could or could not do. He therefore decided that there were special circumstances in this case to justify allowing the exhumation and reinterment.

The petitioner wished to remove her father's cremated remains from Wymering's separate churchyard extension to a family plot in Waterlooville Cemetery, where the petitioners' mother wished to have her remains interred in due course. Other reasons given for the proposal were that the family had expected the ashes to be buried in the area set aside for cremated remains in the churchyard, but at the funeral they did not feel able to object to the grave having been dug in the extension. Also, the grave was in a position under what was now a large overgrowing tree. Whilst the location and condition of the plot would not in themselves be grounds to justify exhumation, the Chancellor did not think it would be a satisfactory solution to suggest that the petitioner's mother's ashes should be buried with her husband's ashes in the existing plot, or that the petitioner's mother's ashes should be buried separate from her husband's, in view of the distress which that would cause to the family. He therefore granted a faculty for the exhumation and reinterment as requested.

A widow had reserved by Faculty a grave next to the grave of her late husband. By mistake someone else was buried in the grave reserved by the widow. Faculty granted to the widow for exhumation of the remains of her husband, and reinterment in another part of the churchyard and reservation for her of a grave next to her late husband's new grave.

The petitioner's mother died in 1993, having expressed a wish to be cremated, and her remains were interred in the area set aside for cremated remains in Edgmond churchyard. The Petitioner's father died in 2016, having expressed a wish to be buried near to the remains of his wife, and his body was interred in another part of the same churchyard. The petitioner and his sisters wished to have the cremated remains of their mother exhumed and reinterred in their father's grave, so that both parents' remains would be together in a family grave. The Chancellor considered this an appropriate case in which to grant a faculty, as it was a case where "there is a proper and understandable proposal to reunite the remains of husband and wife in one plot in the same churchyard as currently contains those remains in separate plots".

Faculty sought for exhumation of husband's remains from grave in Norfolk and reinterment in a grave in Co. Atrim, the widow petitioner and her daughter having had to move, "for financial reasons" to live near their family in Co. Antrim. Faculty refused, the Chancellor being unable to find sufficient justification to grant a Faculty within the guidelines set out in the Court of Arches decision in Re Blagdon.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the exhumation of cremated remains from one family grave and re-interment in another family grave, the remains having been interred 28 years previously.

Two Faculty Petitions, each seeking exhumation of cremated remains from an area where access was difficult for an elderly relative, and reinterment in a more accessible location about six feet away. Faculty refused in each case, the Chancellor being unable to find sufficient justification to grant a Faculty within the guidelines set out in the Court of Arches decision in Re Blagdon, but suggesting that the memorials might be moved to the alternative locations, so as to provide easier access and so that the elderly relatives could choose for their own cremated remains to be interred in due course either in the graves of their loved ones or beneath the newly moved memorials.

The petitioner, who was aged 81 and used a wheelchair, found access to her mother’s grave in Gunton churchyard very difficult, as the grave was a good way back from the churchyard path. She therefore applied for a faculty to authorise the exhumation of her mother’s remains and re-interment in a nearby cemetery. The Chancellor, after considering the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, determined that no special reasons existed which would justify an exception to the norm of permanence of Christian burial.