Time-limited storage of cremation “ashes”

Legal issues surrounding temporary and permanent storage of “ashes”

In our post “Is it time to exhume the relatives?” we considered the situation in Greece, where the overcrowding in cemeteries is such that bodies are often only kept in the ground for three years. We asked whether this was a foretaste of future problems in the UK should the issues of shortage of burial space not be resolved, and observed that time-limited burial is not restricted to the interment of human bodies. Some domestic crematoria impose similar, but more medium-term, conditions on the temporary storage of “ashes”. This was considered in Re Astwood Cemetery [2014] Worcester Const Ct, Charles Mynors Ch.; in addition, the “lift and deepen” strategy for maximizing the use of existing burial capacity is also dependent upon establishing a time limit after which this practice is applied, although this is generally in the longer term.

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