New Southgate Cemetery Bill – Update

Lengthy passage of the Bill almost complete

In addition to the ballot bills included in the Commons Votes & Proceedings for 19 July on which we have reported, there were a number of Lords Messages including Private Bills [Lords]: New Southgate Cemetery Bill [HL], paragraphs 34 to 37. These indicate that the Private Bill relating to New Southgate Cemetery has completed its passage through the House of Lords and was read unopposed in the Commons for the first and second time. 

Background

Our February post Private cemetery development considered in general the passage of Private Bill through the Westminster Parliament, and in particular the example of the New Southgate Cemetery Bill [HL]. With regard to the re-use of graves in Greater LondonSection 74 London Local Authorities Act 2007 empowers a burial authority to disturb or authorise the disturbance of human remains interred in the grave for the purpose of increasing the space for interments in the grave: where it has extinguished a right of burial in a grave space under s6, City of London (Various Powers) Act 1969; or a right of interment in respect of a grave under s9, Greater London (General Powers) Act 1976.

However, these provisions do not apply to every cemetery in Greater London including, inter alia, private cemeteries such as New Southgate Cemetery, which are not Burial Authorities under s 214 Local Government Act 1972 and do not have the power to extinguish burial rights unless another Private Act is secured.

The Parliamentary stages of the New Southgate Cemetery Bill are listed here. The Petition to introduce the Bill was presented in the Lords on 27 November 2015. By the end of  Session 2015-2016, it had been given its Second Reading and was carried over to the 2016-2017 Session, when was reintroduced to the Lords and subsequently considered by the Commons. On 7 February the Bill was given its Third Reading, without debate.

Recent progress

The Commons Votes & Proceedings for 19 July indicate [34] that the Lords communicated that they had considered the Commons message of 11 July in respect of the New Southgate Cemetery Bill [HL] and had come to the following resolution in respect of the said Bill:

“That the promoters of the New Southgate Cemetery Bill [HL], which was originally introduced in the House of Lords in Session 2015-16 on 25 January 2016 may have leave to proceed with the Bill in the current Session according to the provisions of Private Business Standing Order 188B (Revival of Bills)”.

The Lords passed the New Southgate Cemetery Bill [35] which then moved to the Commons. Under, Private Bills: Certificate by Private Bill Office (Standing Order 188B relating to Private Business), it was reported:

Certificate by the Clerk in the Private Bill Office laid upon the Table by the Speaker, That, in respect of the [New Southgate Cemetery Bill [HL]] brought from the House of Lords, the Agents have deposited in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the House of Lords in the last Session”.

The Bill was read in the Commons for the first and second time, reported from Unopposed Bill Committee without amendment (Order, 11 July); The Bill’s next stage is Third Reading. The formal Third Reading has been opposed a number of times in the run up to the dissolution of Parliament in April 2017. This is because a blocking motion was tabled which effectively prevented the bill receiving its Third Reading in the absence of time for a debate. No date has yet been set for the Third Reading debate.

Comment

As noted in our earlier post, the passage of the New Southgate Cemetery Bill demonstrates the length of time involved for the development of a burial ground which does not fall within the provisions of section 74 London Local Authorities Act 2007. By contrast, authorization for exhumation and reburial associated with for the reorganization of churchyards under the faculty jurisdiction is generally less time-consuming. With regard to the release of new land for burial, however, the churchyards of the Church of England on average much smaller than municipal graveyards, [Ministry of Justice, Survey of Burial Grounds in England and Wales].

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "New Southgate Cemetery Bill – Update" in Law & Religion UK, 25 July 2017, http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/07/25/new-southgate-cemetery-bill-update/

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