The Deed of Exclusive Right of Burial

The Registered Owner of the Deed of Exclusive Right of Burial has the automatic right to be buried in the grave; they may also allow others to be buried in the grave (space permitting). They do not, however, own the land itself. The ownership of the cemetery land remains with the Council.

The Deed of Exclusive Right of Burial is issued for a set period. From the 1940s this was for a period of 50 years. The Deed will state when it was issued and for how long.

Extending grave rights

A Registered Owner can apply to the Cemeteries Office at any time to extend the Deed, as 100 years can be held at any one time.

Download the application form to Extend Grave Rights(pdf, 20KB) or view our fees.

Once the Rights have expired, the ownership reverts to the Council. No further burials can take place until the grave is purchased again. The law allows the disturbance of human remains after 75 years from the date of the last full burial in the grave.

Transferring grave ownership

Many people believe that, if they possess the Deed (Grant) document itself, this means they are the Grave Owner. The owner is the person named on the Deed, or registered with the Cemeteries Office as Owner following a transfer.

If the Registered Owner has died, or the living owner would like to assign the Rights to someone else, they can complete the Exclusive Right of Burial assigned by a living owner(pdf, 43KB) form or contact the Cemeteries office for information on transferring grave ownership.


A Registered Owner also has the right to erect and make changes to a memorial. The Registered Owner is responsible for keeping the memorial in a safe condition. If it is found to be dangerous, and the Registered Owner does not make it safe, the Council can do so, and then recover costs from the Registered Owner.

Sometimes nearby graves may need to be reopened and your memorial may need to be moved. To avoid delays to funerals, prior notice is not always possible. There are several reasons for moving memorials they are:

  • To gain access.
  • To protect the memorial from damage.
  • To protect cemetery operatives from danger.

It is very important that you let the Cemeteries Office know if there is any future change of name or address.

Updated: 25 August 2017