Exhumations are generally rare but may be necessary for the following reasons:
- To move remains from an original grave plot to a new grave
- To deepen an existing grave for a further burial
- To arrange for a body to be cremated
- By a court order for forensic examination
Exhumation means the removal from the ground of the remains of a human being, either in the form of a body or cremated remains. You must apply for a licence from the Ministry of Justice to remove human remains from the ground. Further information can be found on the Gov.UK website (see link below).
It is important to point out that it is a criminal offence under the Burial Act 1857 to disturb any human remains (this also includes cremated remains) without first obtaining the necessary lawful authority.
As part of the application for a licence you will need to get the signature of any close relatives and the owner of the grave plot and the permission of Council.