Management of burial grounds, application for burial, exhumation, private burial and restoration of lairs: regulation in Scotland

A Scottish Government consultation on the management of burial grounds, application for burial, exhumation, private burial and restoration of lairs in Scotland. We are seeking views from the public and funeral sector to inform the next steps for burial regulation in Scotland.

Section 1 - Commencement of part 1 of the 2016 Act

17. The proposals set out in this paper will be achieved in part by bringing into force the sections on burial in Part 1 of the 2016 Act which have not already been commenced. Commencing these sections will, alongside the regulations described in this consultation, introduce a range of legal obligations for individuals and burial authorities.

18. Notably, commencement of sections 14 – 16 of the 2016 Act will bring an end to the sale of lair[2] rights in perpetuity which means that descendants of the person who originally bought the rights to a lair, have continuing exclusive rights to its use. These owners are often impossible to trace after the first two generations, leaving empty lairs unused and allowing headstones on used lairs to fall into disrepair. Instead rights of burial will be limited to a period of 25 years with the option for the lair right-holder[3] to apply to extend the right by subsequent 10 year periods.

19. It is proposed that burial authorities will be given a period of time in which they must take steps, if they have not already done so, to implement the changes to the duration of right of burial. This may include, for example, updating the lair certificate and/or other terms and conditions of sale, updating public information on websites and updating the register of rights of burial. Updating the register to record key dates will be important to keep track of when future burial rights fall to be extinguished.

Question 1 – What do you think is an appropriate timeframe for burial authorities to prepare for the changes to the sale of right of burial?

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • Another timeframe

Please give reasons for your answer.



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