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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



The Petitioner wished to have her late husband's remains exhumed and reinterred in a churchyard nearer to where she now lived, her reason for the request being that she now found it difficult to visit her husband's grave. Applying the principles laid down by the Court of Arches in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty.

The petitioner's father had died  in 1989 and his cremated remains had been buried in the churchyard. The petitioner's mother died in 2022 and her body had been buried in another part of the churchyard. The petitioner wished to have his father's ashes exhumed and placed in his mother's grave. The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty, the petitioner's mother having throughout her life held the mistaken belief that she could be buried with her husband, and the desirability of supporting a 'family grave' as set out in Re Blagdon Cemetery[2002] Fam 299.

The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the cremated remains of his father, who died in 1986, from New Mills churchyard and reinterment at Thornsett Cemetery in a plot which the petitioner had reserved. The petitioner's mother had recently died, but her cremated remains had not yet been interred. The petitioner stated that his mother had expressed a wish for her cremated remains to be buried at Thornsett. The petitioner therefore sought to respect his mother’s wishes and also unite his parents’ remains at Thornsett. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. The cremated remains of both parents could be reunited at New Mills. The Chancellor did not consider that the wish to create a new family grave elsewhere justified the disturbance of an existing family grave.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her brother exhumed from the grave containing the remains of their parents. The petitioner's sister and the deceased's daughter had arranged the interment without the knowledge of the petitioner. This had caused some consternation in the rest of the family, because the deceased had been estranged from the family and they thought it inappropriate for him to be buried with his parents as he was alleged to have subjected his mother to an act of physical violence. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, having decided that the petitioner's application did not meet the test of exceptionality envisaged in the case of Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, so as to justify allowing exhumation. Nor did the petitioner's application "amount to a sufficiently good reason by reference to a ‘right thinking’ member of the church at large" (referencing the decision in Re Christ Church Alsager [1998] Chancery Court of York).

Part of the cremated remains of the petitioner's late partner had been interred in the churchyard and part in a grave reserved in the cemetery by the petitioner. The petitioner applied for permission to exhume the ashes in the churchyard and reinter them in the grave in the cemetery. The petitioner's estranged daughters had been under the impression that all the ashes had been interred in the churchyard, in accordance with the deceased's wishes. One of the daughters, on discovering what had happened, petitioned to have the deceased's ashes exhumed from the cemetery and reinterred in the churchyard. The petitioner thereupon sought an amendment of his petition to preserve the status quo. The Chancellor decided that the status quo should be maintained, there being no sufficient justification for allowing either exhumation.

The petitioners' father died in 1998 and his cremated remains were interred in the southern end of the churchyard, near the grave of his grandparents. The petitioners' mother died in 2020, having made a codicil to her will, in which she expressed a desire to be buried and not cremated. She was buried in the burial area at the northern end of the churchyard. The petitioners now wished to move their father's cremated remains to the grave of their mother, in order to fulfil the hope expressed by their mother in the codicil that her husband's remains might be taken up and buried in her grave. The Chancellor did not consider that there were exceptional reasons to justify the grant of a faculty for exhumation and reinterment: "Mr Cooper is already buried close to family members and so the family grave consideration does not give rise to exceptional circumstances. "

The petitioner's late daughter had died in a road traffic in 1966, aged just 16 months. She was buried in an unmarked grave. The petitioner and his late wife had always wanted to be buried with their daughter, but the churchyard at Boultham had been closed for burials since their daughter's death, so that the petitioner's wife had been buried in Newport Cemetery in Lincoln. The petitioner wished to exhume his daughter's remains and inter them in a grave reserved near to her mother's grave. The Chancellor was not satisfied that with the passage of time it would now be possible to recover any remains of such a small child buried 53 years previously, and he declined to grant a faculty.

An application was made for a faculty to exhume the cremated remains of James Thomas Padgett (interred in 1988) from the churchyard of St. Helen's Edlington, with a view to the remains being reinterred with the ashes of his wife, which were interreded in 2007 in Newport Cemetery, nearer to the home of the deceased's daughter, who also wished to have her ashes interred in due course in the same grave in the cemetery. The applicant stated that her osteo-arthritis now prevented her from travelling long distances. The Chancellor, applying the principles in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002], did not find any special circumstances to justify him granting a faculty.

The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the remains of her daughter and husband from Bulkington churchyard, in Warwickshire, with a view to them being reinterred in the churchyard at Bacton in Norfolk. The petitioner's daughter had lived only one day and was buried at Bulkington fifty years ago. Her husband's cremated remains had been interred there nineteen years ago. Seven years ago, the petitioner, who had suffered serious health issues, had moved to Bacton to be near her family, and she wished in due course to be buried with the remains of her daughter and husband at Bacton, where her remaining family would be able to maintain the grave. She was concerned about being unable to visit the churchyard in Warwickshire regularly and maintain the grave there. The Chancellor, applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, could not find sufficient exceptional grounds in this case to justify the grant of a faculty.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorise a shallow excavation in and around a late nineteenth century grave in Gorton churchyard, in order to establish whether the Moors Murderer Ian Brady buried something in a hessian sack in the grave.