Key messages

  • Bodily remains may be repositioned within a place of interment with written permission from the cemetery trust. 
  • If a lift and reposition procedure is approved by the cemetery trust, an exhumation licence is not required.
  • A lift and reposition procedure cannot be approved if the of remains have been interred for less than 10 years.

Process for a lift and reposition procedure

A lift and reposition procedure allows a place of interment to be reused where there is insufficient space to accommodate further interments. The procedure involves:

  • opening a place of interment
  • lifting existing bodily remains which are interred in the place of interment
  • deepening or enlarging the place of interment if necessary
  • repositioning the existing bodily remains to provide space for further interments in that place of interment.

Step 1: Lift and reposition application

The holder of the right of interment or monumental agent/representative makes an application to the cemetery trust for approval to carry out a lift and reposition procedure. Note that an application must be in writing and accompanied by the relevant cemetery trust fee.

Step 2: Consideration of application for lift and reposition

The cemetery trust considers the application. A trust should not approve an application if it considers it would be inappropriate for any of the following reasons:

  • the nature of the soil would prevent or hinder the process
  • it would be impractical because the place of interment can't be sufficiently deepened
  • the physical state of the human remains
  • in the case of a mausoleum, the chamber is not able to accommodate additional human remains
  • religious, cultural, health or safety considerations.

Note that a trust must not approve an application if it relates to bodily remains that have been interred for less than 10 years.

Step 3: Approval of application for lift and reposition 

The cemetery trust grants approval to carry out a lift and reposition procedure.

Note that this procedure can only be approved by delegated trust members. Approvals must be in writing.

Step 4: Lift and reposition of remains

Lift and reposition takes place.

Note that an exhumation licence is not required to carry out this procedure. Details about what may be done as a part of the procedure are provided in s. 90 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003.