Home > Public space > England and Wales > 2010-02-10 - Court of appeal, R (Ghai) v Newcastle City Council, [2010] (...)

2010-02-10 - Court of appeal, R (Ghai) v Newcastle City Council, [2010] EWCA Civ 59; [2011] Q.B. 591

Public space · England and Wales · Funeral · Religious beliefs

Hindu ‘open air’ funeral pyres is lawful under British law

Key facts of the case - The applicant wished to be cremated in accordance with Hindu beliefs (i.e. on a traditional open air pyre). He applied for and was refused permission by a local authority for land for an open air cremation ground.

Main reasoning of the court - The judicial review application was eventually heard by the Court of Appeal which held that definition of building in the Cremation Act 1902, section 2, should be given its ordinary, natural and wide meaning, so as to include a relatively permanent and substantial structure that could properly be described as “constructed”. A structure like those in which Hindu cremations are carried out abroad could be a crematorium within section 2. The claimant’s wishes as to how his remains were to be cremated could be accommodated within the legislation. In so holding, the Court of Appeal side-stepped a human rights approach adopted by the Administrative Court which had found the interference on the article 9 ECHR freedom of religion to be justified.