UK High Court Ruling: Coroners Must Send Bodies For Scans Rather Than Autopsies If Religion Demands


chnThe following is via the Independent UK:

Coroners must send bodies for scans or blood tests rather than carry out invasive autopsies if the deceased’s religion demands the corpse must stay intact, the High Court has ruled, in a landmark legal victory for the religious rights of Jews and Muslims.

The two communities celebrated after a judicial review hearing established a set of principles coroners must follow where families have expressed fundamental religious objections to full post-mortems. Muslims and Jews regard invasive autopsies, defined by one Jewish leader as “cutting open a body and removing internal organs” as the desecration of a body in religious law and to be avoided where possible.

Mr Justice Mitting described several rules that must from now in be followed – including that there is an “established religious tenet” an invasive autopsy should be avoided, a “realistic possibility” that a non-invasive autopsy, such as a CT scan or blood cultures, would establish cause of death, and that the coroner must still be able to carry out their legal obligation to establish cause of death to the best of their ability.

The non-invasive procedure should also be done “without imposing an additional cost burden on the coroner,” the judge added.

Although two judges had already decided a scan should normally be permitted where required for religious reasons, the new ruling is the first time the court has established these principles in law.

The one-day final hearing of the case was the culmination of a judicial review taken out by the family of Serlotta Rotsztein, an elderly Orthodox Jew who passed away on 29 September last shortly after being admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in London.



  1. This woman Mary Hassell has been the bane of the Jewish and Muslim communities in North West London, so much so that seriously ill patients have avoided going to the Royal Free Hospital, despite it being an excellent hospital, worried that if they pass away there Hassell would play hard ball and insist on an autopsy. She has no sympathy for Jews or Muslims, alive or dead.

  2. Note that outside of the Middle East, Orthodox Jews and religious Muslims have a great deal in common, and many reasons to want to work together.