Judgment Search


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 1 October 2022

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



The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of his mother moved from one consecrated plot in the cemetery to another consecrated plot in the same cemetery. The reason given for the proposed move was that, due to the proximity of skips to accommodate rubbish, the area next to the grave had become the subject of persistent fly-tipping. The Chancellor was satisfied that photographs of the area indicated "a wholly disrespectful and disgraceful state of affairs." He therefore granted a faculty for exhumatin and reinterment.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of his parents exhumed from a double plot in the consecrated section of Heaton Cemetery and reinterred in another plot in the same consecrated area. The petitioner's reason for the application was that the plot was situated under a tree where birds regularly roosted, and the memorial over the plot had been so affected by bird faeces that it had become unsightly, unhygienic and potentially hazardous to the health of those visiting the grave, placing flowers on it or trying to clean the memorial. The Chancellor determined that the circumstances were sufficiently special to make an exception to the norm of permanence of burial. He therefore granted a faculty.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her late husband, who died in 2014, exhumed and reinterred in the same cemetery in a plot where her own ashes could also be interred in due course. The petitioner admitted that in 2014 she could have reserved a plot next to her husband's plot, but decided at the time not to do so. Citing the judgments in Re Christ Church Alsager [1998] 3 WLR 1394 and Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] 3 WLR 603, the Deputy Chancellor determined that there were no special circumstances to override the normal presumption of the permanence of burial, and he therefore declined to grant a faculty.

The petitioner's father had died in 1970 and his ashes had been interred in a casket in Hereford Cemetery. The petitioner's mother had died in 2022 and her ashes had not yet been interred. The petitioner wished to have her father's ashes exhumed so that her mother's ashes could be mingled with her father's ashes and the casket then reinterred, in order to fulfil  her mother's wishes as expressed in a document dated 29 January 2017. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. Christian burial should be treated as permanent, and exhumation should not be allowed unless in exceptional circumstances. The petitioner's mother's wish did not amount to exceptional circumstances.

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's father's cremated remains were interred in Epperstone churchyard in Nottinghamshire in 2004. After he died, the petitioner moved to Bradford-on-Avon. In 2013 the petitioner's mother moved to a nursing home in Bradford-on-Avon and she died in 2018. The petitioner wished to have her father's ashes exhumed from Epperstone churchyard and interred with her mother's ashes in Bradford-on-Avon, because it would be inconvenient for the petitioner to travel regularly between Bradford-on-Avon and Nottinghamshire to visit her father's grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, as inconvenience did not amount to an exceptional reason for departing from the general principle that Christian burial is to be seen as permanent.

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.