Laws about dead bodies in Scotland

In Scotland……. a death must be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages within 8 days – and this must be done before burial or cremation.

There are no other laws about dead bodies in Scotland.

Nobody actually owns someone after they die. *

There is no time limit after death within which someone has to be buried or cremated.

You can keep someone who has died at home between their death and their funeral.

You can transport a someone who has died in any vehicle, as long as they remain out of sight.

You can make all the funeral arrangements yourself.

You can bury someone who has died in your garden, with the permission of your local authority and SEPA.

Ashes from cremation can be scattered anywhere you like as long as you have the landowner’s permission.

PLEASE NOTE: The Burial and Cremation (Scotland)Act 2016 will give a legal hierarchy of who can arrange a funeral and the possibility for someone to name the person they would like to arrange their funeral. This law has not yet come into effect [03/18].

* The person named as the Executor in the Will of the deceased, or if there is no Will, the person most entitled to be appointed Executor, has the right to decide how they are to be cared for. Very often, that person happens to be the closest family member also.