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

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The petitioner, aged 88 years, wished to have the remains of his late wife exhumed from Southern Cemetery, Manchester, and reinterred in Mill Lane Cemetery, near Cheadle, about six miles away, closer to where the petitioner now lived, as he was finding it increasingly difficult to visit her grave. The Chancellor found no exceptional reasons which would justify him in authorising the exhumation and reinterment

Faculty refused for exhumation from the cemetery at Battle and reinterment in the cemetery at Petworth, near the petitioner's home, the Chancellor finding no special reason to allow exhumation within the principles laid down by the Court of Arches in Re Blagdon.

The family of Michael Niles (the deceased') moved from the UK to live in the USA when the deceased was young. For a reason not explained in the judgment, the deceased was deported several years ago to the UK. There were no members of the family in the UK. The deceased died in January 2022, and his burial was delayed for two and a half months, whilst efforts were made to trace his relatives. His body was buried in Middleton Cemetery in April 2022. The family in the USA subsequently heard about the deceased's death, and his daughter applied for a faculty to have the deceased's body exhumed and cremated, and for the ashes to be sent for burial in the USA. The Chancellor considered that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty. If the family had been aware of the deceased's death at the time, they would have had his body cremated in the UK and the ashes sent to the USA for burial, believing that this would have been the deceased's wish.

The petition related to a family grave. The grave had originally been reserved in 1924 and the deed giving rights of burial in the grave had eventually become vested in one of the petitioners ("A"). The grave already contained a number of interments of family members', including the remains of A's twin brother. In 2016, the cremated remains of A's uncle and aunt were interred in the grave, without A's consent. There now appeared to be no guarantee that it would be possible for A's remains to be buried in due time in the grave of his twin brother. The burial authority admitted an oversight in allowing the burial of the remains of the aunt and uncle without A’s consent. A's cousin said that it had always been his parents' wish to be buried with members of their family, including their own son. The Chancellor had to determine whether the aunt and uncle's remains should be moved, to allow A's remains to be buried in the grave, or whether to allow the remains of the aunt and uncle to stay in the grave. The Chancellor, after considering the decisions in Blagdon, Alsager, Twyford and Fairmile, determined not to grant a faculty for exhumation.

The petitioners applied for the temporary exhumation of the cremated remains of their brother from their father's grave, so that their mother could be buried in the same grave and the brother's cremated remains then returned to the grave. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petitioner's daughter died, whilst still a child, in 2011. The petitioner and her husband had wanted a triple depth grave for their only child and themselves, but a triple depth grave was not possible because of the ground conditions The petitioner's husband died in 2020 and was buried in a grave about 400 yards away in the same cemetery. The petitioner now wished to have the remains of her daughter exhumed and reinterred in her husband's grave, next to which the petitioner had already reserved a grave for herself. The Chancellor decided that "exceptional circumstances justifying exhumation do exist in this case. The establishment of what is in effect a family grave will be expressive of family unity, which should be encouraged."

The petitioner's father died on 17 September 2020 and his remains were buried in a consecrated double depth grave in the cemetery, it being intended that in due time the petitioner's mother's remains should be buried in the same grave. The petitioner's mother died in September 2021 and shortly before that a very large memorial, which did not comply with the cemetery regulations, was erected on an adjacent plot. The family felt that the adjacent memorial was so large that it seriously overshadowed the grave of the petitioner's father. It was therefore decided to bury the petitioner's mother's remains in another double depth plot in the same cemetery and to seek permission to move the petitioner's father's remains to his wife's grave. The Chancellor considered that the family's concern was reasonable in the circumstances and, because the uncertainty as to whether or when the offending memorial could be modified or removed was likely to cause prolonged anxiety to the family, he decided to avoid any further distress by granting a faculty for exhumation and reinterment of the petitioner's father's remains.

The petitioner applied for a faculty for the exhumation of the remains of her mother, interred in Mortlake Cemetery in 1978, and for reinterment in a cemetery in the USA, near to where the petitioner lived. The Petitioner was the deceased's only surviving child and had lived in the USA since 1953. The Petitioner's children and their families all lived near to her  and an area in the cemetery near to her home had been reserved for the burial of members of her family, where one of her daughters was already buried. After considering the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Deputy Chancellor determined that there were exceptional circumstances allowing her to grant a faculty for exhumation, so that all the members of the family could be buried together in the same cemetery.

In January 1995 the cremated remains of Harold Bristeir were interred in plot 15000 in the cemetery. It was the intention at the time that when his wife Joan Bristier died, her remains would be interred in the same plot. In March 1995, Mrs. Bristeir's brothers, Michael and Roland Durber reserved rights of burial in the adjacent plot 14999. When Roland died in 2011, his remains were interred in plot 15000, owing to a mistake by the burial authority. This mistake came to light in 2017, when Mrs. Bristeir died, and the error was only discovered on the day before her funeral. In the circumstances, Mrs. Bristeir's daughter reluctantly agreed for her mother's ashes going in plot 14999. However, she later regretted that decision in haste and applied for the exhumation of her mother's ashes and Roland's ashes and their reinterment in the correct plots. The Chancellor found that, owing to the mistake by the burial authority, he was justified in allowing the two exhumations and reinterments.

The petitioner wished to have the body of her 15 year old daughter, who had committed suicide in 2018, exhumed and cremated. The family had been finding life difficult in Durham following the family tragedy. They wished to move to Canada, where they had relatives, and to take the petitioner's daughter's remains with them, where they could be interred. The Chancellor, applying the principles laid down in the Court of Arches decision in  Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, determined that the petitioner had failed to prove that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty for exhumation.