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The Anatomy (Northern Ireland) Order 1992

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Lawful examinations

6.—(1) Paragraph (2) applies if a person, either in writing at any time or orally in the presence of 2 or more witnesses during his last illness, has expressed a request that his body be used after his death for anatomical examination.

(2) If the person lawfully in possession of the body after death has no reason to believe that the request was withdrawn, he may authorise the use of the body in accordance with the request.

(3) Without prejudice to paragraph (2), the person lawfully in possession of a body may authorise it to be used for anatomical examination if, having made such reasonable inquiry as may be practicable, he has no reason to believe—

(a)that the deceased, either in writing at any time or orally in the presence of 2 or more witnesses during his last illness, had expressed an objection to his body being so used after his death, and had not withdrawn it, or

(b)that the surviving spouse or any surviving relative of the deceased objects to the body being so used.

(4) Subject to paragraphs (5) to (7), the anatomical examination of a body in accordance with an authority given in pursuance of this Article is lawful by virtue of this Article.

(5) Where a person has reason to believe that an inquest may be required to be held on any body or that a post-mortem examination of any body may be required by the coroner, he shall not, except with the coroner’s consent—

(a)give an authority under this Article in respect of the body, or

(b)act on such an authority given by any other person.

(6) No authority shall be given under this Article in respect of a body by a person entrusted with the body for the purpose only of its interment or cremation.

(7) Authority under this Article expires at the end of the statutory period (even if the person lawfully in possession of the body concerned authorises its use under paragraph (2) or (3) for a longer or a shorter period or for no particular period).

(8) In the case of a body lying in a hospital, nursing home or other institution, any authority under this Article may be given on behalf of the person having the control and management of the institution by any officer or person designated for that purpose by the first-mentioned person.

(9) In paragraph (7) “the statutory period” means the period of 3 years (or, subject to paragraph (10), such other period as the Department may by order subject to negative resolution specify for the purposes of this paragraph) from the date of the deceased’s death.

(10) An order under paragraph (9) shall not apply in relation to the body of a person who died before the coming into operation of the order.

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