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Details on exhumation

Exhumation means "any disturbance" of buried human remains. When it is required, it must be done with dignity, respect and within the law.

It is unlawful to disturb buried human remains (including cremated remains) without permission.

Bodies may be exhumed for many reasons:

  • Lack of burial space
  • Redevelopment of old cemeteries or crypts
  • Archaeological reasons
  • Individual requests for reburial, repatriation or cremation; criminal investigations or even to correct errors made, for example if a person was buried in the wrong plot

Legal requirements

There are three categories of legal exhumation:

  1. With a Ministry of Justice licence
  2. With an ecclesiastical faculty (where remains are exhumed from consecrated ground)
  3. By a coroner's order

Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are required to attend for those exhumations sanctioned under a Ministry of Justice licence.

What you can do

A family making a request for personal reasons should contact Bereavement Services  who will be able to offer support and advise on obtaining the necessary legal permissions, and subsequent onward journey of the exhumed remains.

What we can do

Once an exhumation licence is issued a copy will be sent to us and we will arrange for an officer to be present at the exhumation.

The Bereavement Services cemetery team will arrange to carry out the exhumation with dignity. This is usually done very early in the morning.

Contact us

Write to us: Bereavement Services, Leicester City Council, Gilroes Crematorium, Groby Road, LE3 9QG
Ring us on: 0116 373 7327
Send us a message