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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



The petitioner wished to have the ashes of his father, who died in 2002, exhumed from a plot of land adjacent to the churchyard. There was a question as to whether the plot of land, known as the "church garden", adjoining the churchyard, was consecrated and therefore within the faculty jurisdiction. The petitioner's mother died in 2020. It had been her wish that her ashes should be buried with her husband's ashes. Permission to do so had been refused by the incumbent, as he believed the church garden was not consecrated. The Deputy Chancellor determined that (a) the effect of Section 5 of the Consecration of Churchyards Act 1867, under which the land had been gifted, was to add the church garden land to the churchyard, and it therefore came within the court's jurisdiction; (b) the church garden had not been consecrated; and (c) that, in the circumstances, a faculty should be granted for the removal of the ashes (if practicable) or, alternatively, for the ashes of the Petitioner's mother to be interred with her husband's ashes.

The petitioner wished to exhume from the churchyard the cremated remains of his father and to have the remains reinterred in a cemetery with the remains of his mother, who had subsequently died. Applying the principles in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found no special circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty for exhumation.

Iris Dean ("the Deceased"), before her death in 2010, expressed a wish to have her ashes interred in grave A12 in Blackley Cemetery, where her parents, brother and sister were interred. When she died, her husband, who did not wish to be buried in the same grave as his in-laws, purchased grave A136, and had the Deceased ashes interred in it, with a view to his own ashes being interred there in due time. Before he died in 2020, the deceased decided that he did not wish to be cremated, but to be buried with his parents in a churchyard at Droylsden, where his ashes were in fact subsequently interred. The Deceased's daughter now applied for a faculty to exhume her mother's ashes from grave A136 and reinter them in the family grave, A12. The Chancellor determined to treat this as a case of mistake in not burying the Deceased in accordance with her wishes and that it would be unconscionable not to allow the Deceased's ashes to be buried in her chosen final resting place, the family grave.

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 Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances to justify him granting a faculty for the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner's father from Kenilworth Cemetery and reinterment with the cremated remains of the petitioner's mother in a grave in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Kenilworth, which already contained the remains of the petitioner's aunt. At the time of the father's death the petitioner had been told mistakenly that burial in the churchyard was not possible, whilst in fact it was possible to inter into an existing grave which would become a family grave.

The petitioner's father had died in 2005 and his cremated remains had been interred in the cemetery. His widow, during her lifetime, had expressed a wish to have her cremated remains buried in a more accessible part of the cemetery and for her husband's cremated remains to be exhumed and reinterred in the same grave as her own remains. The widow died in 2017. The petitioner applied for a faculty for exhumation and reinterment of her father's ashes, even though it would be possible to inter the ashes of her mother in the plot where her father's ashes were interred. The Chancellor determined that there were no special circumstances, within the guidelines set out in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam. 299, to justify granting a faculty for exhumation.

The petitioner's late father, a Muslim, had been buried in a grave in part of the cemetery consecrated for burials according to the rites of the Church of England. It was unclear whether this had been pointed out to the family at the time of death (as none of the cemetery staff were in post when the father was buried), but probably not. Also, the burial had been limited to single depth, because of the ground conditions. The petitioner's mother, who had recently died, had been buried in an unconsecrated part of the cemetery. The petitioner stated that it had been the wish of his parents to be buried together. It had not been possible to bury the petitioner's mother in the same grave as her husband (even disregarding the fact that the grave was consecrated. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty to enable exhumation of the petitioner's father's remains, for reinterment in the unconsecrated grave where his mother was buried.

In 1985 the petitioner's young sister's body had been buried in a consecrated part of Lambeth Cemetery. The family are Italian Roman Catholics, and when the burial took place they had no understanding of the significance of burial in consecrated ground, and it had been the intention of the parents after ten or so years to return to Southern Italy and take their daughter’s remains with them with a view to reburial in an above-ground mausoleum in South Italy, where that form of burial is common. The plan to return to Italy changed, but in 1998 a new mausoleum was opened at Streatham Park Cemetery, and since then it had been much used by the Italian community. The petitioner wished to move his sister's body to the mausoleum. The Chancellor granted a faculty, on the basis that at the time of burial there had been a mistake in the family's understanding of the nature of, and the consequences of, interment in consecrated ground, which had not been explained to them.

The petitioner wished to exhume the body of her daughter from Lambeth Cemetery with a view to reinterment in Streatham Park Cemetery. The petitioner's family were Italian Roman Catholics. They had intended after about 10 years to return to Italy and have the remains of the daughter exhumed and reinterred in an above-ground mausoleum in Southern Italy. However, following the opening of a new mausoleum in Streatham Park Cemetery, and a change of plan as to their future, they wished to have the remains buried at Streatham Park Cemetery mausoleum, where many Italians were being buried. As the family of the deceased had intended the original burial to be temporary and had a mistaken view of the consequences of burial in consecrated ground, the Chancellor was persuaded to treat the circumstances as exceptional and to grant a faculty.

The petitioner wished to exhume from the consecrated part of Lambeth Cemetery the remains of her father, interred in 1987. The family is not Christian, but Taoist, and it was not known at the time of the interment that the grave was consecrated. When the petitioner's mother died in 2018, the petitioner felt that she could not have her mother's remains buried in the same grave as her father, owing to the Taoist cultural tradition prohibiting a female being buried on top of the head of the family. There was no available spce for interment of her mother's remains next to those of her father, so the petitioner arranged for her mother's remains to be interred in a double plot in Beckenham Cemetery, assuming that she would be able to have her father's remains exhumed and reinterred in that grave. The Chancellor considered that there were exceptional circumstances justifying the grant of a faculty.