Labour leader concerned over ‘cab-rank’ burial policy

Jeremy Corbyn has highlighted what he calls ‘serious concerns’ over the ‘cab rank’ burial policy of a north London coroner.

In a letter addressed to the chief coroner for England and Wales, Mark Lucraft QC, the leader of the Labour party describes the suffering of those affected as ‘unacceptable’, urging  coroner Mary Hassell to review the policy.

As reported earlier this month, a judicial review of the approach was sought by Jewish funeral organiser Adath  Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS), following an incident which involved the family of a deceased Jewish man. The society contested that Hassell’s policy had resulted in ‘unnecessary bureaucratic delays’ in releasing the body for burial; under Jewish and Islamic law, the body should be buried as close to the death as possible.

The judicial review was subsequently granted by the High Court with the hearing set to take place in March.

Hassell has since stated that regardless of religion no death would be put before another.

According to the Gazette, the letter was sent last week and was co-signed by MP Emily Thornberry and Islington Councillor Richard Watts.

It states that Hassell’s policy ‘goes against the faith of Jewish and Muslim faith and is preventing them from grieving for their lost loved ones.’

Corbyn expressed his concern on the matter earlier this year, telling the JC: “I have been approached by the Jewish and Muslim communities in Islington and I’m very concerned about the stress families are going through in not being able to complete burials in line with their faiths.

“I fully support their efforts to ensure public services respect their religious beliefs and traditions – and the coroner service should be no exception.”

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