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If you want to remove human remains from the ground, you will need to apply for an exhumation licence.
We make getting your exhumation licence a simple, stress-free process ✅
The scenarios that require an exhumation licence may include the following:
move human remains from one grave to a new grave
deepen an existing grave so that another person can be buried there
remove them so that they can be cremated
a court has ordered further forensic examination
There are two types of licence available for exhumation:
A Bishops Faculty licence
A Home Office licence
Normally you will need either one or the other, although there are certain circumstances where you may require both. The type of ground from which remains are to be exhumed, and where they are going to be exhumed to, determines the exhumation licence that is required.
If human remains are to be exhumed from a grave in consecrated ground to be re-interred in consecrated ground in another burial ground you will only need to apply for a Bishops Faculty licence.
If an exhumation is to be carried out from unconsecrated ground to either consecrated/consecrated ground, only a Home Office licence is needed.
To apply for an exhumation licence you will need to fill-in the application form and get the signatures of any close relatives and the owner of the grave.
Once the application form has been completed. You should send it to the Ministry of Justice and addressed to the Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Team.
This can be sent via post or via email, of which details can be found on the exhumation licence application form.
A Bishops Faculty can be obtained by application to the Church of England Diocese for the area where the deceased is interred. You will need to contact your local Church of England representatives.
Acquiring an exhumation licence does not cost nothing, however, please be aware that there may be other charges you incur throughout the process.
This includes the following:
✅ Cemetery fees
✅ Removal of memorials
✅ Funeral director fees
✅ Bishop fees (if remains are buried on consecrated ground)
✅ Re-burial costs
This usually comes to between £2,500 to £3,000 but costs can vary.
Exhumation in its simplest term, means the removal from the ground of a body or cremated human remains.
If an exhumation licence is granted, you'll be sent the date and time of the exhumation. It will happen out of working hours, usually around 4am or 5am.
An environmental health officer and cemeteries officer can be present at the exhumation. You will also be able to attend but this is optional.
No. It is unlawful to disturb any human remains without first obtaining the necessary legal authority and exhumation licence. Those in violation could face legal action, fines and even potential jail time.
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