Home Funeral Arrangements and Feuding Families: Who has the Legal Right to Decide?

Funeral Arrangements and Feuding Families: Who has the Legal Right to Decide?

Press Release: June 26, 2017

Dr Heather Conway LLB, PhD, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, Queens University Belfast, will be a speaker at CBCE 2017 on Wednesday 5th July.

The 2017 Cremation and Burial Communication and Education Event is to be held over three days from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th July 2017. With great speakers and fantastic content, taking place at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, hosted by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Cremation Society of Great Britain.

Heather’s paper explores:
• The growing volume of case law around funeral arrangements and feuding families
• Who has the legal right to decide?
• How courts in England and Wales (and elsewhere) determine who has the best legal claim to make the deceased’s funeral arrangements when families cannot agree.

It also suggests that change is needed to prioritise funeral instructions where the deceased has made his or her wishes known and to make the law more reflective of current family structures.

The death of loved one is an emotionally charged event and can resurrect old grievances or trigger power struggles within families. Disputes over the funeral arrangements are a classic example: should the deceased be buried or cremated; should specific religious or cultural practices be followed; if opting for burial, which cemetery and in which grave; with cremation, what happens to the ashes afterwards? Difficult decisions are required within a short time, and if consensus or compromise cannot be reached the law must intervene to ensure that ‘disposal’ of the dead takes place.

Dr Heather Conway is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research focuses on the substantive laws surrounding the treatment of the dead, the fate of corpses and who has decision-making powers over human remains.

Her areas of interest include the resolution of family disputes surrounding funerals, exhumation and commemoration, and their underlying reasons; the legal status of funeral instructions; and the legal and financial issues posed by pre-paid funeral plans. Heather is the author of The Law and the Dead (Routledge, 2016).

To find out more about the CBCE please visit www.cbce.org.uk
The Cremation Society of Great Britain
Pauline Silk
+44(0)1622 688292


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact:

Visit the newsroom of: pauline.silk@cremation.org.uk