Summary of the steps to approve a cremation

The key steps involved in approving a cremation are shown in the file below.  They include the forms required to be completed by:


  • The person applying to cremate a body
  • The medical or nurse practitioner(s) who complete the medical certificate of cause of death and the required cremation forms
  • The medical referee who checks the documentation, that the cause of death has been clearly established, and who decides whether or not to approve the cremation.   

More information is provided below.  

When to use the forms

When any body is to be cremated. The requirements are set out in the Cremation Regulations 1973

A medical practitioner or nurse practitioner completes three forms, including:

Note: a nurse practitioner cannot complete a Medical Certificate of Causes of Fetal and Neonatal Death (HP4721) for a stillborn child but can complete Cremation Forms B and AB

Who completes the forms?

The cremation Forms B and AB can be completed by:

  • the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who has completed the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, or
  • another medical practitioner or nurse practitioner.

Documentation process

The forms can be completed online on the Death Documents website, or on paper.

The funeral director can usually provide the forms to the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to complete. These are Cremation Form B and Form AB. The forms can also be found in Schedule 1 of the Cremation Regulations.

The medical practitioner or nurse practitioner returns the completed Cremation Forms B and AB, along with the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, to a medical referee who has been appointed by the crematorium that will carry out the cremation.

Role of the medical referee

The medical referee must be an experienced medical practitioner. They review the death documents to ensure:

  • the cause of death has been clearly established
  • that the death does not need to be reported to the coroner
  • there is no reason why the body should not be cremated.

If the medical referee has any concerns about the information provided on the medical certificate of cause of death or cremation forms they will contact the certifying health practitioner(s) who completed the forms to obtain clarification or additional information.

More information about medical referees is provided in the document below.

Exemption to Cremation Regulations 1973

A Form B cremation certificate may be issued without examining the deceased in situations where a person has died in a residential care facility, rest home or other long term in-patient facility, and where the death is not unexpected.

Under this exemption, 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). The Form B certificate should state that “the deceased was not examined after death as per the residential care facility exemption”. 

A trusted source, usually a manager or registered nurse at the residential facility, must confirm that they have identified the deceased and that they are satisfied that there were no suspicious circumstances to the death. 

To ensure the Crematorium Authority knows the deceased may be safely cremated, the funeral director (or other applicant) should also provide an embalmer's certificate to confirm that there is no biomechanical aid in situ.

These certificates should be sent to the medical referee, who have been authorised to permit cremations to be carried out in these circumstances, without compliance with regulation 7, as provided for under Section 12 (b) of the Cremation Regulations 1973.