In view of the Covid-19 virus and the misleading information in the public domain about what law does and does not permit in respect of handling and transporting the body of a person who has died with the virus, it is necessary to create this precursor.
Covid-19 was downgraded from being a high consequence infectious disease on March 19th, 2020. See status on the gov.uk website.
There are no prohibitions and details on this site about what bereaved relatives and friends may do themselves without hiring an undertaker, remain the same. As a precaution, Public Health England (PHE) recommends placing a damp cloth or mask over the face of the person who has died and makes clear that body bags are not necessary. PHE advice is primarily designed to assist people who are required to manage bodies such morticians and undertakers.
Note that an undertaker’s contractual terms and conditions may vary during a pandemic or at any other time, so it is important to only appoint one which meets the desire and requirements of the bereaved.
Note also that the law does not dictate that a body must be directly buried or cremated.
“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best’. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary”,
This site is a resource on what newly bereaved people are legally able to do in England & Wales in the immediate hours and days following a death. It is a social venture which attracts no income and is dedicated to improving services that people when/if bereaved will need to deal with, whether directly or indirectly. I began the campaign because the system badly failed me when people close to me died, more especially my youngest son. I am aware that it is failing other people.
Public servants in local and central government are not doing enough to empower newly bereaved people. If they did, it would quickly put an end to the false belief that the law requires that we must be passive, helpless and dependent upon others, when someone close to us dies. It is the epitome of a disabling dependency culture which has emerged, some argue orchestrated, by assuming those we meet in various services, must know best about our own needs and the law.
Persistent refusals by public servants and others to understand and comply with long established law, leads to the oppression of those who are newly bereaved, leaving them open to coercion and abuse, at what is often the most difficult period in their lives.
This website has been created to afford everyone, no matter their religious or non-religious views, information about relevant laws in England & Wales which does not obstruct the public from: (a) looking after the body of someone who has died naturally in a domestic environment or after a coroner no longer needs their body to investigate the cause of any death; (b) disposing (an insensitive legal term) of a body by burial, cremation or any other means, with or without using a coffin or a special vehicle; (c) For the avoidance of doubt, no law requires any of us to use undertakers or other funeral event organisers, for any purpose at any time.
This website is also a desk top campaigning tool to encourage public officials to produce, by default, guidance about what people can do for themselves following a death, and to include information about consumer and contractual legal rights when buying funeral packages.
If my ideas are adopted, almost immediately a simple but universal pattern would rapidly develop, similar to legal precedents. Obviously, no laws would be changed. The change would be a better understanding of existing law, throughout all public services, rapidly replacing lore with law.
Those public officials, who already act sensitively and competently and know where their powers start and end, would be supported and encouraged, if their colleagues at all levels were required to make obvious, the legal rights of all newly bereaved people. Organisational practices would be challenged, which harm emotional well-being by perpetuating ignorance, fear, mystique, and misinformation. Those unwittingly enforce dependency, on those who have little or no idea, on how best to protect themselves, their relatives and friends. Far better information would In turn, ensure public servants become far more effective in protecting our health. Responsibility for that rests with central and local government, i.e. for never having provided all public servants with sound information on relevant law and psychology.
It has been a struggle for me to find a detailed, comprehensive list of information on any specific website, about what people can do following a death, which includes what to do if dealing with a bad undertaker or public official. This is because many other online information providers mimic information which already exists elsewhere, that is often inaccurate and/or misleading on law.
The content on this website has not been influenced by anyone in the commercial sector. I hope that the information I provide here is accurate. I always welcome constructive criticism of the content.
If any visitors are aware of any changes in law or policy that I have not taken account of, I would be grateful if you could let me know.
This website was last updated on June 9th, 2022.