Title: Burial, cremation or transplantation? Reflections on legal and ethical problems in the framework of civil law doctrine

Authors: Konstantinos N. Christodoulou

Addresses: Law School, University of Athens, 20 Mavromichalis str. 10680 Athens, Greece

Abstract: In the Greek legal order, although only the absence of opposition of the deceased is required for his cremation and transplantation, the consent of his relatives is additionally called for, as if power over his body now belongs to them. In this sense, it could be argued that with regard to the legal fate of the corpse there is another case of (quasi-) succession causa mortis. From this basis of analogy arises the issue of the application of provisions of the law of inheritance mutatis mutandis in this instance (the disposal of the corpse). In this framework, the consent of the deceased shall be subject (directly or by analogy) to the legal status of a will (e.g. formality, revocability, defects, etc.); the relatives, to whom the law leaves the matter should be treated as intestate quasi-successors. Their disputes shall be solved via interim measures, although the decision would most probably exhaust the object in the case.

Keywords: opt-in; opt-out; religious freedom; human values; environment; public health; extra commercium; quasi-succession causa mortis; last will declaration; burial; cremation; transplantation; legal problems; ethical problems; civil law; intestate succession; interim measures; ethics; deceased consent; relatives.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRCS.2016.076075

International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 2016 Vol.4 No.1, pp.3 - 16

Received: 05 Jan 2016
Accepted: 06 Jan 2016

Published online: 22 Apr 2016 *

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