Changes to Cremation Certification after 24th March 2022

The Cremation (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022

Members will be aware that the Government had previously stated that it was their intention that Cremation Form 5 would not be reintroduced following the ending of the Coronavirus Act on 24th March 2022. To enable this the Cremation (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 have now been laid before parliament, and will come into effect on 25th March 2022. After this date there is a 40 day period in which members of parliament can object, but it is highly unlikely that they will. This means that until there are further amendments to the Cremation Regulations 2008 caused by the introduction of the planned medical examiner system later in 2022, the current situation where the only medical form required is a Cremation Form 4 will remain in place.

Other Changes after 24th March 2022

The Coronavirus Act 2020, which introduced easements to death certification processes and cremation forms, expires at midnight on 24 March 2022. Some changes have been retained on a permanent basis through other measures, and other processes revert to previous practice.

The following provisions are continuing after 24 March 2022:

  • The period before death within which a doctor completing a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) must have seen a deceased patient will remain 28 days (prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the limit was 14 days).
  • It will still be acceptable for medical practitioners to send MCCDs to registrars electronically.
  • It will still be acceptable for registrars to send disposal certificates and receive returns electronically (or by paper if required).

The following emergency provisions are changing with the expiry of the Act:

  • The provision temporarily allowing any medical practitioner to complete the MCCD, introduced as a temporary measure by the Coronavirus Act, will be discontinued.
  • Informants will have to register deaths in person, not remotely.