Modernising the Law on the Unlawful Treatment of Dead Bodies

Graham McBain


It is important that English law be up-to-date - as well reflect modern social realities. However, in many areas, English law is badly out of date. This is particularly so in the field of English criminal law where a number of common law offences still exist of an uncertain, and confused, nature. The purpose of this article is to argue for the abolition of the common law offence of the unlawful treatment of a dead body (itself, comprising a number of discrete offences). It is asserted this offence should now be clarified in legislation. Further, it should not be contained in criminal legislation. Rather, it should be placed in legislation relating to burial. This is more appropriate. It also makes the same more accessible to laymen and experts in this area.

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