Burials and Exhumations

8.45.12.L11 Updated on:4 November 2021

Duties in respect of the disposal of bodies

Where a person has died in Jersey, or that person’s body has been brought in to Jersey, it shall be the duty of

  • the person’s surviving spouse;
  • the person’s nearest known relative or any one or more of them being kin in the same degree;
  • the executor or administrator of the person’s estate as the case may be;
  • any person lawfully in possession of the body;
  • in the case of a body brought in to Jersey, the person who applied for a permit under Article 10,
  • to arrange for the lawful disposal of the body.

Therefore a wife, husband, relative, executor, the Government or anyone who has the body or asked for the body to be brought to the island has a duty to bury or cremate it.

Costs of disposal

The costs of lawful disposal of the body shall be payable by the person arranging for the disposal and:

  • shall be recoverable from the deceased person’s estate; or
  • if the monetary value of the estate is not sufficient to meet such costs, such part of those costs as the Connétable considers reasonable shall be recoverable from the parish in which the deceased person was ordinarily resident or, if the deceased was not ordinarily resident in Jersey, in which the deceased has died or been found dead

Therefore if you take responsibility for a funeral or cremation you will have to pay for it. If the person who died had money, you could recover the cost from their estate. If there is not enough money to cover the expense, you could apply to the Parish where the person lived for help.

Exhumations

A person shall not exhume

  • a body
  • a non-viable foetus that is buried in a burial ground

Unless the conditions set out below are satisfied or the Viscount has given a direction under Article 3(2) of the Inquests and a Post-mortem Examinations (Jersey) Law 1995.

  • that a permit has been issued by the Viscount in the Viscount’s absolute discretion and subject to such conditions as the Viscount thinks fit;
  • that the written consent from the Medical Officer of Health has been obtained;
  • in the case of a body buried in ground consecrated in accordance with the rites of the Church of England, that a faculty has been granted by the Ecclesiastical Court; and
  • in the case of a burial ground, that written consent of the burial authority for that burial ground has been obtained.

A person shall not exhume any cremated human remains except with the written consent of

  • where the remains were buried in a burial ground, the burial authority responsible for that burial ground; or
  • where the remains were buried elsewhere, the Superintendent Registrar and the owner of the land in which they were buried.

A person carrying out an exhumation shall notify the Superintendent Registrar and, in the case of a body, arrange for its lawful disposal.

A person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. See Criminal Justice (Standard Scale of Fines)(Jersey) Law 1993 as amended for current information.

There are certain things that have to be done before a body can be removed from the ground.

You have to get permission from

  • The Viscount
  • The Medical Officer of Health
  • If the land is religious, permission has been given by the church who owns the land
  • If the land belongs to another, the owner or administrator of the land has to give permission e.g. the Parish.

If the person was cremated, the person responsible for the land where the ashes were buried has to give permission and also the Super intendant Registrar at the Crematorium.

Whoever has responsibility for the exhumation, also has the responsibility to dispose of the remains afterwards.

Not to carry out what is required is an offence and you could be fined.