Apply for an exhumation licence

Last updated: 18 April 2017

You need an exhumation licence if you want to move a body from one grave to another.

To get an exhumation licence you should first contact a solicitor.

The licence process – what a solicitor does

The process for getting a licence to exhume is:

  • your solicitor will ask a sheriff to grant a licence to exhume
  • your solicitor will also contact a cemetery administrator to confirm where the person you want to exhume is buried
  • the solicitor will then request, from the cemetery administrator, a 'Feasibility Certificate' – this confirms all information is complete and correct
  • the sheriff will then issue a Warrant to Disinter/Re-inter – this means the exhumation can go ahead

Once the licence is granted you'll need to contact the cemetery administrator to arrange the moving of a body from one grave to another. If you wish, you can also contact a funeral director and a religious minister to oversee a ceremony.

How much it costs

Exhumations can be expensive – the cost of a funeral service will give you an idea of what an exhumation and a new burial will cost.

If anyone else has been buried more recently in the same lair as the person you want to exhume, you'll need to get additional exhumation licences. Your solicitor can help with this.