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Occasionally there is a need to exhume a body.  Procedures must be followed before any exhumation can take place. Although the Coroner can ask for an exhumation to be carried out immediately.

Legal aspects: authority to exhume

It is illegal to disturb human remains. No matter where the body is buried permission must be given from the Burial Authority, the grave owner and or any other interested party. 

By law a dead body belongs to no one and is under the protection of the public.  A body buried in 'consecrated' ground, must also get permission from the Church. The bereavement services office holds information as to which sections of the cemeteries are consecrated or not.

In most cases a Home Office license will also have to be applied for and approved before exhumation can take place.

Apply for an exhumation licence on the website. (opens new window)

Please contact us if you require further information about exhumation.

Contact us

Bereavement Services
Gateshead Council
Park Road Depot
0191 433 3816 or 433 3811 

Office opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm