Death - exhumations
Exhumation of both buried and cremated remains generally
requires a Ministry of Justice licence. An Environmental Health
Officer must be present at the exhumation and supervises the event
to ensure that respect for the deceased person is maintained and
that public health is protected.
Who might require an exhumation?
In most cases an exhumation is instigated by the owner of the
grave who is usually a relative of the deceased. The Coroner may
also order an exhumation for further investigation into a
How to proceed
Whether it is a coffin or cremated remains that are to be
exhumed the normal method is to work through a Funeral Director who
will obtain all the legal documentation, submit it through the
correct channels, provide a coffin or cremated remains casket
larger than the original one and arrange for the eventual
re-interment or cremation.
If the Coroner has ordered an exhumation he or she will make
The Council’s Environmental Health Officer is sent a copy of
the license and may wish to be present at the exhumation to ensure
that respect for the deceased person is maintained and that public
health is protected.
Normally a Licence to Exhume is required from the Ministry of
Justice unless the exhumation is from consecrated ground and
the re-interment is to be consecrated ground then an Ecclesiastical
Faculty must be obtained from the local Diocesan Office.
The Ministry of Justice Licence is free but the Faculty
attracts a fee.
If additional coffins must be exhumed to gain access to a
particular coffin the documentation is required for each individual
One of the following forms is required by the Cemetery
Authority before an exhumation may be carried out.
An Application for Exhumation can be obtained from the
Ministry of Justice by contacting them at
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
Tel: 020 7035 5530/5531
A Licence to Exhume can be obtained from the Ecclesiastical
Faculty of the local Diocesan Office
The Diocese of York
Tel: 01904 699500
Fax: 01904 699501