A Jewish burial society in Stamford Hill has been granted a judicial review into the next-in-line policy adopted by a London coroner with regards to autopsies and releasing bodies for burial.
Lawyers acting for the Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS) on Thursday won the right to have High Court judges examine the policy interpretation of Mary Hassell, the senior coroner for Inner North London.
Solicitors for AYBS said the judge granted permission “unusually quickly” and without waiting for representations from Hassell, stating that the matter “clearly raises issues of considerable importance to Jewish and Muslim communities”.
Pressure has been building since late last year, with the Board of Deputies calling for the Lord Chancellor to take action. In the past week, several senior London MPs as well as London Mayor Sadiq Khan have waded in.
On Thursday, Justice Holman ordered a directions hearing before fixing a date for a final hearing, and acknowledged that the ruling would have effects across the coroner service nationwide, saying: “Any decision in this case cannot be specific to Inner North London but must clearly apply for the whole of England and Wales.”
AYBS’s solicitor Trevor Asserson said: “It is clear that the Court recognises both the importance of the case and the need to deal with it promptly.”
Asher Gratt on behalf of the AYBS said Hassell “has already lost several injunctions and a judicial review, and been disciplined by the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office but she simply carries on with her unhelpful and rigid conduct”.
He added: “For years she has now been out of touch in meeting the needs of this diverse community and we hope that the Judicial Review will finally bring it to a close in allowing grieving families to bury their dead with dignity and compassion.”