The cremation Regulations require the certifying practitioner to examine the body of the deceased after death.
An exemption to this requirement has been announced, for specific situations.
On 19 December 2022 the Associate Minister of Health authorised medical referees to permit cremations to be carried out without complying with regulation 7, as provided for under Section 12 (b) of the Cremation Regulations 1973.
This authorisation applies for a two-year period from 19 December 2022.

The exemption: in situations where a person has died in a residential care facility and where the death is not unexpected, a Form B cremation certificate may be issued without examining the deceased after death.

This authorisation only applies:
  • in rest homes, residential care facilities, and other long-term in-patient facilities, and
  • where the medical history and current conditions of the deceased are known by the certifying medical or nurse practitioner.

Under this authorisation a medical referee must receive advice from a trusted source, who has a reasonable level of assurance of the cause of death to verify the identity of the deceased and that the deceased died of natural causes.

The exemption does not apply to deaths in hospitals, hospices, private homes, or other settings and where a medical practitioner does not know the medical history of the individual.
Certifying practitioners would still be required to view the body of a person who dies outside of a residential care facility.

The Form B cremation certificate
  • should be completed by a certifying practitioner who previously attended the deceased before death (by personal attendance or via video-link).
  • should state that “the deceased was not examined after death as per the residential care facility exemption” (ie under the provisions of the exemption issued by Hon Aupito William Sio on 19 December 2022).

Deceased Verification form, usually provided by the Funeral Director: link
A manager or registered nurse at the residential facility must confirm that they have identified the deceased to the funeral director and that they are satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances to the death.
Medical referees have discretion in determining who constitutes a trusted source, but must have a record of the identity, contact details, and position of the trusted source.

Biomechanical Aid (pacemaker) certificate
An embalmer's certificate to confirm that there is no biomechanical aid in situ (or, where applicable, that a biomechanical aid was removed).

These certificates should be sent to the medical referee.

NB: a practitioner who did not attend the deceased before death (“alternate practitioner”) must still examine the body after death in order to issue a medical cause of death certificate, in compliance with section 46B95) of the Burial & Cremation Act.