Search

Court date set for coroner Mary Hassell’s clash with religious groups over prioritising burials

PUBLISHED: 15:48 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 08 February 2018

A general view of the High Court on the Strand, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

A general view of the High Court on the Strand, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

A High Court judge today said the judicial review into senior coroner Mary Hassell’s refusal to prioritise religious people’s burials should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Lord Justice Singh also revealed the hearing would take place on March 27 and 28.

The hearing would have been set to have taken place this year, but the judge has ordered it to be brought forward.

It is expected to last a day and a half.

The row broke out in October between the inner north London coroner, whose remit covers Islington, Camden, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and Stamford Hill’s Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS).

It began when Ms Hassell cancelled a 2015 agreement to allow some Jewish people who die at home to be taken straight to the Mount Carmel funeral home so religious rituals can be observed. She claimed the burial society had violated the agreement and harassed her staff – something the society denies.

Instead, Ms Hassell is now operating a “cab-rank” system, where deaths are dealt with on a first come, first served basis. The Jewish and Muslim faiths attach special importance to the length of time between death and burial and representatives say Ms Hassell’s decision has left families unable to properly grieve.

She has until March 2 to give any evidence to the court justifying her decision.

The judge also said the claim should be heard by a divisional court. This means it would be presided over by at least two judges, including at least one Lord Justice.

Asher Gratt, a representative of AYBS, said: “We are grateful to the court for recognising the pressing need for this judicial review application to be heard as soon as practicable and for taking appropriate steps. Every day that Coroner Hassell maintains her decision she increases the anguish and suffering caused to members of the Jewish and Muslim communities.”

Earlier today, the London Assembly backed a motion from Andrew Dismore, assembly member for Barnet and Camden, condemning Ms Hassell for not responding to the requirements of Jewish and Muslim bereaved families.

In the motion, he accused her of having a “hidden agenda” and said she may be using the debate to get more resources and better premises.

“Whatever the reason, her approach is utterly unacceptable,” he said.

Ms Hassell has not responded to requests for comment.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 16:02

Officers from the Met’s roads and transport policing command are appealing for witnesses after a serous collision on the Limehouse Link tunnel this morning.

Yesterday, 15:00

The Limehouse Link tunnel has reopened after a serious collision between a lorry and a moped this morning.

Yesterday, 13:27

A man has been charged in connection with a rape in Shoreditch on Saturday.

Yesterday, 12:55

Two drug dealers who took over a vulnerable woman’s home to sell heroin and crack cocaine have been jailed for two and a half years.

Yesterday, 10:19

Bethnal Green Library is being upgraded with a start-up workspace and gallery.

Thu, 18:04

The Royal London Hospital have opened two dementia friendly tea rooms and two garden rooms to help patients with recovery.

Thu, 17:00

The chief executive of a secular pressure group has backed under-fire inner north London senior coroner Mary Hassell, saying “religion shouldn’t be a trump card.”

Thu, 16:55

People who have gone through mental illness are telling their story at a Whitechapel employment event about their “journey back into work”.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now