Disputed burial and the Senior Courts Act 1981: Ganoun

The issue in Ganoun v Joshi & Anor [2020] EWHC 2743 (Ch) was the disposal of the remains of a man who died in September 2020 as a result of a road traffic accident leaving a widow, Ms Joshi [1 & 3].

Background

The deceased was born in Algeria but had lived in England for the last 15 years. His parents and his three siblings all still live in Algeria [2]. His mother, Mrs Ganoun, wanted him to be buried in Algeria next to his grandmother [4]. Having become aware that Ms Joshi was planning to arrange a funeral in the UK, and in the absence of any agreement to delay matters, Mrs Ganoun made an urgent application to the court with notice to the respondents on 30 September 2020 seeking an order that she be appointed as administrator of her son’s estate (in order to give her the right to make the funeral arrangements) or, alternatively, requesting the court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction to make directions about the disposal of her son’s body. She also sought an injunction preventing Ms Joshi from taking any steps to dispose of the deceased’s body pending the outcome of the proceedings [4 & 5]. But the application was too late: Ms Joshi had arranged for her husband to be buried in a Muslim cemetery at a private ceremony, conducted by the Imam for Barts NHS Trust, on the morning of 30 September [6]. Continue reading