Department of Health

Exhumation licence policy

Key messages

  • The Exhumation licence policy explains when an exhumation licence is required and the basis for assessing exhumation licence applications.
  • The Exhumation licence policy does not limit the discretion of the department’s Secretary or the Secretary’s delegate.

The department has developed the Exhumation licence policy to provide guidance for cemetery trusts, funeral directors and the public about applications for an exhumation licence. The Exhumation licence policy does not limit the discretion of the department’s Secretary or the Secretary’s delegate.

This policy applies to applications for an exhumation licence under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 for the purpose of exhumations from a public cemetery in Victoria.

It is not intended to apply to applications for exhumations of remains interred outside of a public cemetery, as different considerations and complexities may apply to such exhumations. Potential applicants for a licence to exhume outside of a public cemetery should, in the first instance, contact the department to discuss their situation.

The Coroners Act 2008 contains provisions for exhumation in certain circumstances. Such exhumations are managed by the Victorian Coroner and are outside the scope of the policy.

This policy should be read in conjunction with relevant provisions of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act, the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015, the Application to Secretary for exhumation licence (Form 5)  and other information published by the department about exhumations including the Making an application for an exhumation licence  checklist.

Note: an exhumation licence is not required for a lift and reposition procedure.

Reviewed 12 November 2021

Health.vic

Contact details

Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm

Cemetery Sector Governance Support GPO Box 4057, Melbourne , VIC 3001

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