Aspire Memoria Limited v Secretary of State for Justice


Practice Areas

Public Law

Emily Wilsdon, instructed by Angelina Kennedy (GLD) represented the Secretary of State for Justice at a judicial review permission hearing, before Mr Justice Griffiths in Aspire Memoria Limited v Secretary of State for Justice.

Section 5 of the Cremation Act 1902 prohibits the construction of a crematorium less than 50 yards from a public highway. The Claimant constructed a crematorium knowingly in breach of this provision.

The MoJ subsequently refused to appoint a medical referee for the unlawful crematorium under the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008.

The Claimant challenged this decision, and argued that the MoJ was obliged to appoint a medical referee, notwithstanding the Claimant’s breach of s. 5 of the 1902 Act.

The Claimant also argued that s. 8(1) of the 1902 Act, which includes that any person who knowingly carries out or procures or takes part in the burning of any human remains except in accordance with the provisions of the Act commits a summary offence, did not apply to breaches of the 50 yard rule in s. 5 of the Act.

The Court found that it was not arguable that the MoJ should have granted the application for appointment of a medical referee. The scope of the duty to appoint a medical referee pursuant to regulations 6 and 7 of the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 did not arguably extend to applications made in relation to crematoria constructed in breach of the 1902 Act.

The Court also found that the criminal offence created by s. 8 of the 1902 Act did apply to breaches of s. 5 of the Act.

The Court therefore refused permission to the Claimant to proceed with the judicial review claim.

Related Barristers

Emily Wilsdon

Emily Wilsdon
Year of Call: 2011

Close X

Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.