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EXHUMATION

Following the coming into effect of the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 2014 on 1 January 2015, it is only necessary to obtain a faculty to authorise an exhumation of human remains from a burial ground consecrated in accordance with the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England and subsequent reinterment of the remains, even if the remains are to be reinterred in unconsecrated ground. Prior to the coming into effect of the Measure, where remains were to be exhumed from consecrated ground and reinterred in unconsecrated ground, it had been necessary to obtain both a faculty and Ministry of Justice licence.

Only where remains are to be exhumed from unconsecrated ground will a Ministry of Justice licence be required. For further information about applying for a Ministry of Justice Licence, see the Government web site.

The Church regards burial as final, and so a Faculty will not normally be granted to authorise an exhumation, except in exceptional circumstances, for example, where a body has accidentally been buried in a grave already reserved for someone else, or in any other special circumstances which the Chancellor of the Diocese considers justify a departure from the general rule.

A special form of Faculty Petition is used for an application for exhumation, and attention is drawn to the notes attached to it.

See Fees for the current fee payable on lodging a Faculty Petition.