13.2These decisions are significant for survivors and carrying them out is important for the dignity of the deceased. There is also a public interest in seeing the body of deceased persons appropriately laid to rest. In some cases, notably if there is entrenched disagreement, recourse to the law may be required so that the body can be buried and these interests can be given effect.
13.3Part 4 examines the legal framework around burial decisions and how the potential for disagreement at this time is managed. The Burial and Cremation Act 1964 is silent on many aspects of the decision-making process, so much of the discussion centres on the applicable common law, the body of law derived from court cases.
13.4We discuss in this Part whether it may be in the public interest to replace the common law approach with a new statutory regime setting out the decision-making rights and duties of survivors of the deceased, and providing a statutory process for resolving disputes. We are primarily concerned with two issues: