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Burial & Cremation, Anatomy and Death Certification

Both legislation and policy for burial, cremation, anatomy, hospital post-mortems and death certification matters in Scotland are fully devolved to the Scottish Government.  The Scottish Parliament passed the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 in March 2016. The Act will make much-needed improvements to burial and cremation process in Scotland. 

Details of the implementation of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 are set out in more detail elsewhere in these pages.

Cremation and Burial in Scotland

Local authorities in Scotland are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their burial grounds and crematoriums.

There are currently thirty crematoriums in Scotland, just under half of which are local authority managed.

The remaining crematoriums are either jointly or privately owned and run. ​Burial grounds are largely solely managed by local authorities, with a selection of privately run burial grounds across Scotland.

Should you have any issues or concerns with the running or maintenance of your local cemeteries or crematorium, you should contact the relevant local authority or owner organisation.

Trade and Representative Bodies

Most, if not all, crematorium and burial ground owners and their staff in Scotland are members of the UK-wide bodies The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA), both of whom require adherence to their codes of practice as a condition of membership.

Funeral directors, or undertakers, are private businesses who utilise the services and facilities provided by crematorium and burial grounds. There are two main trade and representative bodies. The largest is the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). The other is The National Society Of Allied And Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). Between them, the membership of these trade bodies comprises over 80% of funeral director businesses in Scotland.