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 Islington News Stories

Fri, 16:47

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

Fri, 16:35

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

Fri, 08:50

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.

Thu, 18:25

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

Thu, 16:39

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.

Thu, 16:02

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

Thu, 16:02

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.

Thu, 16:00

A mother and her three young kids are devastated after their pet chihuahua was shot dead in a Canonbury garden yesterday afternoon.

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