Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880

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The Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880[1]
Long title An Act to amend the Burial Laws.
Citation 43 & 44 Vict c 41
Territorial extent England and Wales and the Channel Islands[2]
Royal assent 7 September 1880
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880 (43 & 44 Vict c 41) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is one of the Burial Acts 1852 to 1885.[3]

This Act is excluded by section 4 of the Welsh Church (Burial Grounds) Act 1945.

For the construction of references in this Act to a "parish" or "burial board", in the application of this Act to Greater London, see section 44(4) of the London Government Act 1963.

From 1882 to 1961, this Act was applied by section 3 of the Interments (felo de se) Act 1882.


The preamble was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1894.

Section 7 - Burials to be conducted in a decent and orderly manner and without obstruction[edit]

This section reads:

All burials under this Act, whether with or without a religious service, shall be conducted in a decent and orderly manner; and every person guilty of any riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour at any burial under this Act, or wilfully obstructing such burial or any such service as aforesaid thereat, or who shall, in any such churchyard or graveyard as aforesaid, deliver any address, not being part of or incidental to a religious service permitted by this Act, and not otherwise permitted by any lawful authority, or who shall, under colour of any religious service or otherwise, in any such churchyard or graveyard, wilfully endeavour to bring into contempt or obloquy the Christian religion, or the belief or worship of any church or denomination of Christians, or the members or any minister of any such church or denomination, or any other person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.[4]


See sections 10(3) and (4) of the Public Order Act 1986.


A person guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.[5]

Where a person is convicted on indictment of this offence, the court, if not precluded from sentencing an offender by its exercise of some other power, may impose a fine instead of or in addition to dealing with him in any other way in which the court has power to deal with him, subject however to any enactment requiring the offender to be dealt with in a particular way.[6]

Proposal for repeal

In 1985, the Law Commission said that this offence was no longer used and recommended that it be repealed.[7]

In 1981, they said that in relation to cemeteries and crematoria managed by local authorities, this offence was effectively superseded by articles 18 and 19 of the Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977 (SI 1977/204), made under section 214 of the Local Government Act 1972.[8] They also said that there was a considerable overlap with the offence in section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860.[9]

Section 11 - Order of coroner or certificate of registrar to be delivered to relative, etc instead of to person who buries[edit]

This section was repealed by section 13(1) of, and Second Schedule to, the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1926.


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 16 of this Act.
  2. ^ The Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880, section 15
  3. ^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and Schedule 2
  4. ^ Digitised copy of section 7 from Legislation.gov.uk
  5. ^ Castro v R (1880) 5 QBD 490 at 508; the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, section 77
  6. ^ The Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 163
  7. ^ The Law Commission. Criminal Law: Offences against Religion and Public Worship. Law Com 145. HMSO. London. 1985. Paragraph 3.25 at page 39.
  8. ^ The Law Commission. Offences against Religion and Public Worship. Working Paper No 79. HMSO. London. 1981. Paragraphs 12.11 and 12.21 at pages 152 and 160.
  9. ^ The Law Commission. Offences against Religion and Public Worship. Working Paper No 79. HMSO. London. 1981. Paragraph 12.13 at page 154.

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