Chapter 14

Prerequisites to cremation

14.8The Regulations impose two conditions before cremation may take place:

14.9The Regulations provide extensive provisions on the appointment and functions of medical referees. The main role of medical referees is to ensure that deaths that should have been referred to the coroner are referred before cremation and that the application for cremation and certificate as to the cause of death have been completed in accordance with the Act. In Part 1, we described the problems with the current system of medical referees and proposed that it should be replaced by a national audit system of cause of death certification that did not necessarily occur before disposal of the body—whether by burial or cremation.

14.10The consequence of this proposal is that there will be no independent check on the adequacy of the documentation prior to cremation. However, in Chapter 6, we proposed duties on a person before disposing of a body, including a requirement that no person may dispose of a body by any means unless an application for disposal and the cause of death certificate have been completed. The cremation attendant will be responsible for checking that these forms have been completed but not for checking the adequacy of the cause of death determination. The adequacy will instead be the subject of the national audit.

260Cremation Regulations, reg 4(2).
261Regulation 5(1).