Oxford City Council has a legal obligation under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 to arrange the burial or cremation of any person who dies in Oxford, if no other arrangements have been made. This duty doesn't apply to individuals who die in hospital, as the NHS is responsible for finding relatives and organising funerals in these situations.

Commitment to dignified disposal

We believe everyone deserves a dignified burial or cremation, regardless of their circumstances. If the deceased's preference for burial or cremation is known, we strive to honour it. In cases where there's no will but surviving relatives, we will reach out to the next of kin, starting with parents, then partners and children, to discuss arrangements.

Recovering expenses

The Council can reclaim the costs of the burial or cremation and related expenses from the deceased’s estate. These costs include:

  • efforts to find relatives and make arrangements
  • funeral expenses

If there's no apparent next of kin and the estate is significant, the case is referred to the Government Legal Department for further investigation.

Help with funeral costs

If you’re facing challenges in covering funeral expenses for a relative, you might be eligible for government support. For more information, visit the GOV.UK Bereavement Support page.

Public health burial and cremation updates

Quarterly updates on public health burial and cremation cases are available:

Exemptions under The Freedom of Information Act 2000

We apply certain exemptions when releasing information on public health cremation or burial cases, estates with no known next of kin, and those referred to the Government Legal Department or Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall. These exemptions include:

Section 21: Information accessible by other means

Details of all deaths in Oxford are available on the Oxfordshire County Council website. Information on estates passed to the Government Legal Department can be found on their website and the Bona Vacantia website.

Section 31: Law enforcement

Revealing details of an estate before the Government Legal Department’s investigation could potentially lead to crimes like theft or fraud. Therefore, we uphold this exemption to help prevent crime and protect public interest.

Contact the Residential Regulation Team

Address: Town Hall
St Aldate's

Telephone: 01865 252211

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