Search

Jewish group threatens to take north London coroner to court in row over priority for religious burials

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 December 2017

Mary Hassell has been senior coroner for north London since 2013

Mary Hassell has been senior coroner for north London since 2013

Archant

A religious group is threatening to take the north London coroner to court in a row about prioritising Jewish and Muslim burials.

Stamford Hill’s Adath Ysroel Synagogue and Burial Society says it will lodge a judicial review against inner north London senior coroner Mary Hassell’s decision last month to withdraw a special arrangement struck three years ago.

Ms Hassell agreed in January 2015 that most Jewish people who die at home in north London could be immediately sent to the Carmel Funeral Home in Stamford Hill instead of going to a public mortuary as is standard. The rule was brought in because Jewish and Islamic religious laws mean a body should be buried as soon as possible after death, while Jewish custom means a body should be watched over at all times until it is buried.

But the arrangement was cancelled in October after a row broke out about delays dealing with a man who had died of natural causes.

Ms Hassell claimed the society made persistent requests to one of her officers for a post mortem to be carried out the next working day, but that staffing issues meant this could not happen.

Adath Ysroel did not respond to allegations it had left the coroner’s officer feeling “persecuted” with its repeated phone calls and e-mails, or that she had ended up delaying other important work so she could deal with the man’s case despite the staff shortage.

The argument is even more fraught because, in Jewish custom, grieving cannot begin until a body has been buried. Campaigners are now saying Ms Hassell’s actions are stopping families mourning properly.

Stamford Hill Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, a member of the London Jewish Forum, said his community was so sensitive to the issue that people were moving out of the area just to avoid dying in Ms Hassell’s jurisdiction.

“If people know they are dying they are moving outside of the area,” he said. “That is the perception in the community.

“If people are having a life threatening operation done, they are trying to have it in a place where their body will be respected.”

Dr Asher Gratt, 63, who volunteers for Adath Yisroel, said Ms Hassell’s attitude was inconsiderate.

“It’s patently clear that this is her disregard for the beliefs of Jews and Muslims,” he said.

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 20:06

A man in his 40s is in hospital after being stabbed in Stroud Green this morning.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The curtain could finally be raised on a forgotten 400-seat underground theatre beneath Islington Green – a decade after it was built.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A popular Blackstock Road boozer was reportedly ordered to close on Wednesday because of an ongoing licensing dispute.

Friday, August 17, 2018

City and Islington College (CANDI) students are “over the moon” after bagging places at some of the “world’s best universities” on an emotional A-level results day.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Crew members at Islington Fire Station raised £316 for a “wonderful” cause by hosting a charity car wash.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cheery 236 bus driver Nelson Campos tells the Gazette why he loves his current route between Islington and Hackney – and reminisced about working for the home office, courts and the police.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The headteacher of North Bridge House Senior Canonbury has lauded the efforts of his students on A-level results day.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hackney Council has urged Transport for London to scrap a series of “unacceptable” cuts to bus services that would see the 48 shelved completely and several others scaled back.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now