Introducing the Easy Guide to Burial and Cremation Law.

Dunn&Co have worked with Donal O'Kelly and Graham Reddie to develop an Easy Guide to Burial and Cremation Law. An innovative approach to a difficult subject.

Read on below for further details and if you are interested then give us a call or drop us an email:

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The book is in four parts..Part 1 has four chapters: GENERAL MATTERS, REGIONAL VARIATIONS (of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales), CORONERS and REGISTRATION.

Part 2 has three chapters: BURIALS, RIGHT OF BURIAL and BURIAL SERVICE


Part 4 also has two chapters EXHUMATION and DISUSED BURIAL GROUNDS

The book then has a number of useful appendices which can be used for reference.

A feature of the Easy Guide to Burial and Cremation Law are the scenarios contained in each chapter. An example of such a scenario is detailed below:



The Problem

When re-opening a grave for a final interment grave diggers discover that the previous burial had taken place leaving a depth of only 3'6". They have reported this to the new manager. The funeral director has advised that the family are insistent on the final interment taking place in the grave and that this has been done previously in the cemetery where the burial was 'slabbed' after the interment.

The Law

In England and Wales the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (LACO 1977) requires thecoffin to be at least 3 feet (91.5cm) below the level of any adjoining ground, however, if the coffin is made of perishable materials and the soil is of suitable character the burial authority may permit burial at least 2 feet (61cm) below the level of the adjoining ground.

No body may be buried in a grave in a cemetery unless the coffin is effectively separated from any coffin interred in a grave on a previous occasion by means of a layer of earth not less than 6" (15cm) thick. When a grave is re-opened for the purpose of making another burial in it, no person may disturb any human remains interred in it or remove from it any soil that is offensive.

In Scotland the law is not as well defined and coverage of the coffin is not specified, however, many Scottish authorities now use LACO 1977 as best practice and draft Scottish legislation follows LACO 1977 guidance on this matter.

The Advice

In England and Wales, 6" of soil must be maintained between the previous burial and the subsequent burial, this would leave a space of 3'(91.5cm). If the coffin to be interred is less than 12" deep, the burial may be permitted providing the soil to be placed back in the grave is of a suitable character. This has been defined by the Ministry of Justice as a friable loam (not clay and not sandy). This can be achieved by importing soil to the grave if the excavated soil is not suitable. If the coffin is deeper than 12" (which would be likely for an adult burial) then a walled grave or vault can be constructed, provided it is sealed within 24 hours of the burial. Simply placing slabs over the top of the coffin is not acceptable. Further information on this can be obtained from Dunn&Co.

Alternatively, the deceased could be cremated and the cremated remains buried in the grave.