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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

In the matter of David Bell deceased [2016] ECC She 4

This judgment should be read in conjunction with In the matter of David Bell deceased [2016] ECC She 3, which was an interim judgment, where the Chancellor requested further evidence before making a decision as to whether to allow the exhumation and cremation of the remains of the petitioner's father, who died in 1976, and the interment of those remains

In the Matter of David Ernest Newton [2018] ECC She 1

The petitioner, whose mother had died recently, wished to exhume his father's cremated remains from the parish where his father had spent his early childhood, and to inter the cremated remains of both his parents in a plot in the grounds of Rotherham Crematorium, opposite which his parents had lived for 45 years. During her lifetime the petitioner's mother had regretted her decision to have her husband's remains interred in the parish where he lived as a boy and had expressed the wish that her remains and those of her husband should be buried together in the cemetery they both knew so well. The Chancellor decided that this was a case where an exception should be made to the general rule against exhumation, and granted a faculty: "I consider that the reasons for granting it satisfy the Blagdon test of being exceptional and the Alsager test of there being a good and proper reason such that most right thinking members of the church would agree. I have cautioned myself against importing or introducing a concept of the remains of a deceased person being generally portable."

In the Matter of George Goodall Deceased [2017] ECC Bir 2

The deceased had been buried in a line of graves next to the churchyard footpath. It had been the practice for some years that bodies were interred with their heads to the west, next to the footpath, and their feet to the east (in accordance with the traditional practice), but that memorials were placed at the foot of each grave and facing the footpath. The petitioners were unhappy that the memorial to their relative was at the foot of the grave, and applied for permission to move the memorial to the head of the grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: " ... it does not seem appropriate to me to grant the Petition because by doing so I would be interfering with a reasonable policy adopted by the PCC and ... imposed upon the relatives of all the other deceased buried in the area."

In the Matter of George Henry Humphreys deceased [2019] ECC Man 1

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her father (who died in 2007) exhumed from Dean churchyard, near Bolton, and reinterred in the churchyard at Warburton with the as yet uninterred cremated remains of her mother (who died in 2018), because the petitioner's parents had started life as a married couple in Warburton, and a number of members of the family lived there. The Chancellor could find no exceptional circumstances to justify embarking from the general principle that burial should be regarded as permanent. Amongst the reasons given for his decision not to grant a faculty, the Chancellor observed that the Petitioner's mother had chosen to have her husband's remains interred at Dean and had regularly visited the grave there until her death, and he also stated that "to allow this application would be to approve a practice of regarding cremated remains as ‘portable’ and that to do so would encourage such applications, which I am not willing to do".

In the Matter of Howard Charles Griffiths [2018] ECC Bir 1

The petitioner applied for the exhumation of his father’s remains, in order that they might be buried in another burial ground with the remains of his mother, who died in 2017. The petitioner’s father had died 27 years previously. His widow, until her death, had frequently complained about the churchyard where her husband was buried as being overgrown. The situation was made worse by the installation 22 years previously of a gas governor site next to the grave, which became noisy and at times gave off fumes, which distressed the petitioner’s mother. Before she died, she expressed a wish that on her death her late husband’s remains should be exhumed and interred with her remains elsewhere. The Chancellor concluded reluctantly that he could find no exceptional circumstances to justify an exhumation. There had been no mistake in the place of interment of the petitioner’s father; 22 years had elapsed since the installation of the gas governor site; and a mistake of law on the part of the petitioner, that he did not realise until recently that it was possible to exhume remains, would not entitle the petition to succeed.

In the Matter of Margaret Jane Moore [2018] ECC Bir 2

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his wife's grave. The proposed design included a design of a rose in gold, red and green. The Chancellor decided that in this particular case he would allow gold lettering and the design of the rose, provided that the rose was only coloured gold.

In the Matter of Sydney Clement Levy (Deceased) [2018] ECC New 1

The petitioner wished to dis-inter the remains of his father on a temporary basis, because the vault in which his father's casket rested was flooded and could not decently be used for further interments. The proposal was to have the vault repaired and made water-tight, after which the casket would be returned to the vault. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

In the Matter of the Petition of Kathrine Tollis [2016] ECC Oxf 2

The Petitioner wished to exhume the remains of her husband from an Oxfordshire churchyard and reinter them in Antibes, where her husband had spent much of his life. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty, being unable, following the guidelines laid down in In re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, to find any sufficient justification for allowing exhumation.

In the Matter of the Petition of Mandy Ramshaw [2016] ECC Oxf 1

The petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of her mother from the churchyard at Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, and reinter them in a plot she had reserved in the cemetery at Chester le Street, County Durham, so that the remains of her mother, father and herself could all be interred in the same grave. The Chancellor determined to grant a faculty (subject to seeing written evidence that the grave at Chester le Street had been reserved), as one of the guiding principles of In re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299 was that an exception to the general rule against exhumation could be made to allow the remains to be exhumed in order for them to be reinterred in a family grave.

Lydbrook PCC v Forest of Dean DC [2004] Gloucester County Court

Lydbrook Parochial Church Council sought an order requiring the District Council ("DC") to fulfil its liability to maintain Lydbrook's closed churchyard. The DC sought to have the proceedings struck out because (1) proceedings for judicial review were the appropriate way of dealing with this type of matter; or (2) there was no prospect of success, or (3) the claimants had not agreed to the matter been dealt with through alternative dispute resolution. The judge determined that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the County Court. The applications to strike out and for summary judgment were dismissed. To avoid substantial costs, the judge ordered a stay of proceeedings in order to allow the parties time to resolve their dispute.