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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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INHERENT JURISDICTION: Hartshorne v Gardner
Date:14 MAR 2008

(Chancery Division; Miss Sonia Proudman QC sitting as deputy High Court judge; 14 March 2008)

In a dispute between divorced parents as to whether an adult child's body should be buried or cremated, or as to the place of the funeral or interment, the relevant factors included what reflected, or might be expected to reflect, the wishes of the deceased, and what reflected the reasonable wishes and requirements of those family and friends who were left. The fact that the deceased in this case had made his life in a particular town for the previous 8 years, and that not only his father but also his fiance and his brother wished him to be buried there outweighed the otherwise weighty factor of the difficulties that would be faced by the mother in visiting his grave if he were buried there. Even on the mother's own evidence, her involvement in the son's life had been very limited for many years, compared with that of his fiance and other members of his family.