Exhuming a grave

Exhumation means removing human remains from the ground, either a buried body or some cremated remains. 

The reasons for exhuming human remains are usually to: 

  • move a body to a new grave
  • cremate a body 

You can also have an urn of cremated remains exhumed from a burial plot or the crematorium grounds. 

It’s unlawful to exhume remains without the proper legal licences and other documentation. 

Please contact us if you are a family member requesting an exhumation and we’ll give you advice and support with the necessary paperwork. There's a form that you may want to download and fill in first on the GOV.UK website to get a licence for the removal of buried human or cremated remains.

There is a fee for exhuming a grave. Please contact us by email or call (01226) 206053 for more information.

Coroner or Ministry of Justice licences 

In certain circumstances, a coroner or the Ministry of Justice can make a request to exhume a grave for investigation of the buried remains. 

If you discover human remains 

If you are carrying out excavation work and discover human remains, you must contact the police immediately and stop working at the site.