Burials and Exhumations

Updated 15 June 2020

Words you may need to know

Bury / burials - to put in the ground and cover with earth

Exhume/ exhumations -  to dig up a corpse from a grave

Corpse - dead body

Spouse -  next of kin, partner, wife, husband etc

Executor - someone tasked with carrying out the last wishes of someone who has died

Administrator - someone who is dealing with others' affairs or carrying out the role of an Executor

Disposal - removal, dealing with, doing away with

Non-viable foetus - this is a baby in the womb which would have had no chance of survival

Absolute discretion - this means it is entirely up to the person as to whether they do something or not

Usufructuary - someone who is entitled to use someone else's property

Consecrated - this is something that has been blessed and is considered holy


Duties in respect of the disposal of bodies

(1) Where a person has died in Jersey, or that person's body has been brought in to Jersey, it shall be the duty of:

(a) the person's surviving spouse;

(b) the person's nearest known relative or any one or more of them being kin in the same degree;

(c) the executor or administrator of the person's estate as the case may be;

(d) any person lawfully in possession of the body;

(e) 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 State 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:

(a) shall be recoverable from the deceased person's estate; or

(b) 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.


(1) A person shall not exhume:

(a) a body: or

(b) a non-viable foetus that is buried in a burial ground,

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

(2) The conditions referred to in paragraph (1) are:

(a) 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;

(b) that the written consent from the Medical Officer of Health has been obtained;

(c) 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

(d) in the case of a burial ground, that written consent of the burial authority for that burial ground has been obtained.

(3) A person shall not exhume any cremated human remains except with the written consent of:

(a) where the remains were buried in a burial ground, the burial authority responsible for that burial ground; or

(b) where the remains were buried elsewhere, the Superintendent Registrar and the owner of the land (including the usufructuary or lessee of that land on a contract lease) in which they were buried.

(4) A person carrying out an exhumation in accordance with paragraphs (1) or (3) shall notify the Superintendent Registrar and, in the case of a body, arrange for its lawful disposal.

(5) 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.

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

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

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