Richmondshire District Council

When do exhumations take place?

Exhumation means the removal from the ground of the remains of a human being. This can be either in the form of a body or cremated remains.

They are generally rare, expensive and can be traumatic for the family involved.

Exhumations take place for a number of reasons, including:

  • Movement from the original grave to a family plot bought later in the same or other cemetery
  • Repatriation overseas to be buried along with other family
  • Transfer from one cemetery scheduled for development to another
  • Court orders requiring further forensic examination

Permissions for exhumation

It is an offence to exhume any human remains without first obtaining the necessary lawful permissions.

You need to apply for a licence to remove human remains from the ground from the Ministry of Justice. You will also need the permission of family members and the owner of the grave.

Funeral directors can help with this.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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