Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd February 2018.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department has issued to coroners on ensuring that bodies are released for burial as soon as possible as per religious tradition.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Guidance for coroners is issued by the Chief Coroner.

The needs of those faiths which require early burial can only be fully met if coroners provide an out of hours service. In his Annual Report for 2016-2017 the Chief Coroner recommended that coroner areas should provide an out of hours service but that they should normally do so on a ‘light touch’ basis. He went on to say however that “in some areas an out of hours service will require more, particularly in order to assist families who seek early burial for their loved ones”.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice’s Guide to Coroner Services, which is available on and is aimed in particular at bereaved families, says that “the coroner’s office will take account where possible of individuals’ views and expectations, including family and community preferences, traditions and religious requirements relating to mourning, post-mortem examinations and funerals”.

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