Dear Member,

Advice Concerning Reclamation of Precious Metals and other Material including Surgical Implants following Cremation (including their disposal by sale or otherwise).

As Members will know an opinion from a leading firm of Solicitors (Eversheds) was sought as this area of the law is far from clear and certainly may not have yet evolved to meet the needs of modern Society.

To come to a conclusion as to whether a local cremation authority may be able to deal with the reclamation of precious metals and other materials including surgical implants by removing such residues from the ashes from the cremation process Eversheds have considered a wide range of cases, concepts, principals and the Law (where that exists).

Prime areas considered have included looking at the general law of property in a body. The rights and duties of persons charged with disposing of the body and dealing with the Estate of deceased persons. They have considered the law on removal of body parts, including the definition of body parts and questions of assimilation and ease of removal as all assisting their conclusions.

They have also considered the general legal principals relating to the laws of Contract, Agency and Trust.

As regards Local Authorities the statutory and regulatory basis that establish, subscribe and limit cremation authorities powers in this respect.

In all these areas not only are considerations complicated but their inter relationships are complex so whilst the conclusions drawn are reproduced in the attached documents (England and Wales No.1) (Scotland No.2) Members need to read the opinion in full and to present the same to their own legal advisors to deal with the interpretations made particularly as regards the construction of the inter relationships leading to these conclusions.

 

Important Note

The attached documents (England and Wales No.1) (Scotland No.2) are the property of the FBCA and are reproduced for the information of Members only. They are not to be reproduced, copied or published by any persons without the prior consent of the FBCA.

Rick Powell
Secretary

 

Background

We have been asked to advise the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities on the issue of ownership of reclaimed residual materials including precious metals and surgical implants following cremation. The advice is to cover the law in England, Wales and Scotland. England and Wales are dealt within Part 1, Scotland is dealt within Part 11.

In addition we have been asked to consider the legality of the current practice under the Federation Code of Practice and the other options legally available to remove and dispose of materials (including by sale).

We are not expected to advise on the public relations issues and issues of transparency. However, it is immediately apparent that the public relations implications of dealing with the cremated remains of an individual are likely to be significant. Whilst there is at least some analogy with the issues raised in respect of the Alder Hay scandal the issue here does not relate to living tissue and therefore there may be less sensitivity than where a "part" of a bereaved person has been removed. The making of any commercial profit or just simply the sale of any removed parts on the other hand might well inflame public opinion.


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We have been asked to advise the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities on the issue of ownership of reclaimed residual materials including precious metals and surgical implants following cremation. The advice is to cover the law in England, Wales and Scotland. England and Wales are dealt within Part 1, Scotland is dealt within Part 11.

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