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Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016

The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 was passed by Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2016.

The original impetus for this work came from the independent Burial and Cremation Review Group, chaired by Sheriff Brodie, which met between 2005 and 2007 to look at the law relating to burial, cremation and death certification.  Its recommendations on death certification were accepted by Ministers, resulting in new legislation in 2011 and implementation in 2015.

The burial and cremation related activity, which was due to commence after death certification was completed, was  brought forward following concerns about infant cremation practice in Scotland, set out in the Mortonhall Investigation Report of Dame Elish Angiolini.  Her recommendations were supported and extended in the subsequent Report of the Infant Cremation Commission, a nationally-focused Commission chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Iain Bonomy.

The Scottish Parliament passed the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 in March.  The Act will make much-needed improvements to burial and cremation process in Scotland.  Many of the Act’s provisions are in direct response to recommendations made by Lord Bonomy.  Although the report of the National Cremation Investigation was published after the Act was passed, many of the report’s recommendations are already being addressed by the Act.

Although the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 has been passed by Scottish Parliament, there are still various pieces of secondary legislation which need to be laid before parliament before individual sections of the Act can be brought into force.  Secondary legislation is currently being drafted and will be subject to consultation before being laid before Parliament.

Information relating to the progress of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 will be set out in newsletter updates which will be widely circulated. The updates are available at the following links: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Policy/BurialsCremation/BurialCremationBill/Decemberupdate


The updates will outline which sections of the Act have come in to force and will provide some background information on the progress of implementation. 

Information on death certification and infant cremation can be found elsewhere in these pages.

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Burial & Cremation, Anatomy and Death Certification Team
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House (3EN)
Regent Road