§ Mr. KING
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the practice, in cases under Section 1 of the Burial Laws Amendment Act, 1880, of requiring that the certificate of registry of death of the person interred should be handed to the burial authority; whether he is aware that the Act imposes no right on the burial authority to demand this, and no duty on the relatives of the deceased to give up the certificate; and whether, in view of the fact that the relatives often require this certificate for other legal purposes or as a record, he will issue instructions to burial authorities not to exceed their rights and cease to demand the handing over of these certificates?1348W
§ Mr. McKENNA
I believe that it is a common practice for the burial authority to require the production of the registrar's certificate that he has registered or received notice of the death, but it is not limited, as the question appears to suggest, to the special cases in which a body is buried under Section 1 of the Act of 1850. I may point out to my hon. Friend that the Registration Act of 1874 requires the certificate as a general rule to be delivered to the person who buries or performs the funeral or religious service, and that the only difference made by the Act of 1880 is that in cases under it, in view of the special conditions under which the interment is made, the certificate has to be delivered to the person responsible for the burial. I am advised that it is within the powers of the burial authority under Section 38 of the Burial Act, 1852, to require the production of this document, and as the authority are the responsible authority in regard to interments in their grounds and are also charged with the preparation of the register of burials, the requirement seems to be a reasonable one. The question as to who is entitled ultimately to retain the document is not expressly determined in the Acts and I have no power to give any instructions in regard to it.