HC Deb 22 July 1897 vol 51 cc827-9

(1.) Where either—

  1. (a) the body of a person who has died of any infectious disease is retained in a room in which persons live or sleep; or
  2. (b) the body of a person who has died of any infectious disease is retained without the sanction in writing of the medical officer or any legally qualified medical practitioner for more than forty-eight hours, elsewhere than in a room not used at the time as a dwelling-place, sleeping-place, or workroom; or
  3. (c) any dead body is retained in any house or room or ship under circumstances which, if continued, may endanger the health of the inmates thereof, or of any adjoining or neghbouring house or building or
  4. (d) any dead body found within the district is unclaimed or no sufficient person undertakes to bury it,
a sheriff, magistrate, or justice may on a certificate signal by a medical officer or other legally qualified medical practitioner, direct that the body be removed, at the cost of the local authority, to any available mortuary, and be buried within the time limited by the sheriff, magistrate, or justice; and may, if it is the body of a person who has died of an infectious disease, or if he considers immediate burial necessary, direct that the body be buried immediately, without removal to the mortuary.

(2.) Unless the friends or relations of the deceased undertake to bury and do bury the body within the time so limited, it shall be the duty of the local authority to bury such body, and any expense so incurred may be recovered by them in a summary manner from any person legally liable to pay the expenses of such burial.

(3.) It shall not be lawful to transport the body of any person who has died of any infectious disease by railway or other public conveyance not being a conveyance reserved for such purpose, unless and until the medical officer has certified that every precaution necessary for the public saifety has been adopted to his satisfaction, and any undertaker or other person who shall without such certificate knowingly remove or assist in - removing, and any person who shall procure or endeavour to procure the removal of, such dead body without having obtained such certificate shall be liable to the penalty hereinafter mentioned in this section.

(4.) If any person obstructs the execution of any direction given by a sheriff, magistrate, or justice under this section, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five pounds.


moved to leave out paragraph (d) in Sub-section (1). He said the object was to avoid the necessity of getting a Sheriff's Order for the burial of a dead body. A body might be washed ashore, and in such a case it would be very inconvenient to have to get the warrant of the Sheriff to bury it.


did not think it would be wise to accept this Amendment. He did not think it must be assumed that unclaimed dead bodies should be just put under ground without any authority from some judicial person. There might be cases where foul play had happened, and if there was not to be a warrant, a body might be buried and got out of the way before anything was known about it. He thought the wise course in these cases was, to insist on the warrant of a, magistrate or sheriff.


thought the Amendment was intended to cover cases which often happened in the Highlands and islands. Dead bodies were often thrown up on the west and north coasts, and, it might be, in places where they were very far from any magistrate, or sheriff, or justice. In those cases it would be very difficult to carry out any of these forms.

MR. CALDWELL asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: After "officer," insert "or other legally qualified medical practitioner."

Clause 72,—


(1.) Every local authority may, and if required by the Board shall, make and enforce for the whole or any part of their district such bye-laws as are requisite for the following matters; (that is to say),

  1. (a) for fixing the number of persons who may occupy a house or part of a house which is let in lodgings or occupied by members of more than one fancily;
  2. (b) for the registration of houses so let or occupied:
  3. (c) for the inspection of such houses:
  4. (d) for enforcing sufficient privy or water-closet accommodation and other appliances and means of cleanliness in proportion to the number of lodgers or occupiers, drainage for such houses and for promoting cleanliness, light, and ventilation in such houses, and for the cleansing and ventilation of the common passages and staircases:
  5. (e) for the cleansing and limewashing at stated times of the premises:
  6. (f) for the giving of notices and the taking of precautions in case of any infectious disease.

(2.) This section shall not apply to common lodging-houses within the provisions of this Act relating to common lodging-houses, but shall apply to farmed-out houses, that is to say, to houses of one or two apartments taken on lease by any person, and let or rented to several occupiers for limited periods as furnished apartments, as also to all boarding-houses for seamen and emigrants, irrespective of the charge made for the board and lodging therein.

Amendment made: In Sub-section (1), paragraph (d), leave out "light."

Clause 74,—