Municipal cemetery regulations and the High Court: Ul Haq

To what extent are municipal cemetery regulations obliged to cater for the various religious preferences and convictions of the families of the deceased? That was the core of the dispute in R (Ul Haq) v Walsall MBC [2019] EWHC 70 (Admin).

The background

In R (Ul Haq), the claimant, a practising Barelvi Muslim, challenged the lawfulness of Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council’s “Rules and Regulations in respect of Cemeteries and Crematoria” (the “Cemetery Policy”): specifically the provision in paragraph 6.9(g)) forbidding raised edgings around graves. Mr Ul Haq’s father had been a prominent member of the community and an imam; and after he had been buried at Streetly Cemetery (which is administered by Walsall MBC) the Council refused Mr Ul Haq permission to erect a four-inch raised marble edging around his father’s grave. Continue reading