“Rest in peace” – perhaps

How often do consistory courts permit the disturbance of human remains?

A recent headline in the Coventry Telegraph proclaimed “Incredibly rare ruling means man’s body can be reburied beside his beloved wife at different cemetery”, a view that was more accurately stated in the NSS link to the story “A judge has over-ridden normal Church of England rules that a last resting place should be final”. This item related to the judgment in Re Coventry Road Cemetery Bedworth, summarized here,  in which the Chancellor followed the approach laid down by the Court of Arches in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, based upon the Church of England’s “long-established presumption against exhumation and in favour of the permanence of Christian burial in consecrated ground [1]”. However, the headline in the Argus prompted the thought “how often and in what circumstances does a consistory court grant a faculty for the movement of human remains?” This post examines recent examples where the courts have permitted exhumation and reburial under the headings considered by the Arches Court. Continue reading