High Court rules that non-invasive autopsies must be offered
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
In a landmark ruling and a legal victory for both Jews and Muslims, the High Court rules that coroners must send bodies for scans or blood tests if the deceased’s religion demands it, rather than carry out invasive procedures to facilitate autopsies.
Mr Justice Mitting described several rules that must from now in be followed – such as, if there is an “established religious tenet” an invasive autopsy should be avoided and if 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.
Previously two judges had already decided that scans should normally be permitted for religious reasons, the recent ruling is the first time these principles have been established in the UK legal system.
This case was the culmination of a judicial review taken out by the family of an elderly Jewish lady, Serlotta Rotsztein who passed away last September and whose body was subjected to an invasive autopsy against her family’s wishes.
This ruling is also welcomed by the Muslim community of Britain as we share the same aversion to invasive autopsies as the Jewish community with whom we share many other common religious values. This has been a concern for us for many number of years.