Lambo v Kelly-Lambo (PT-2018-00382) (Ch D) 25th September 2018.

The claim was brought by Mrs Lambo (one of two parties claiming to be the surviving spouse of Mr James Lambo (“the deceased”) under section 116 Senior Courts Act 1981 and the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court for a limited grant of letters of administration in respect of the deceased’s estate so that she could make arrangements for his burial in Nigeria, his country of origin.  The deceased did not leave a will.  The claim was opposed by the Defendant who also claimed to be the deceased’s surviving spouse.  The defendant wanted to secure the deceased’s burial in England.

The parties agreed for the purposes of the claim that both were equally entitled to a limited grant to dispose of the deceased’s remains and that the evidence and submissions in the proceedings should be limited to the factors set out in Hartshorne v Gardner [2008] EWHC 3675, namely:

1. The most important consideration being that the body is to be disposed of with all proper respect and decency without further delay;

2.  The deceased’s wishes;

3.  The place with which the deceased had his closest connection; and

4.  The reasonable wishes and requirements of family and friends of the deceased.

After hearing evidence and submissions, the Court ruled as asserted by the Claimant that (a) the deceased’s wish was to be buried in Nigeria, (b) the deceased maintained a close connection with Nigeria notwithstanding his long residence in England, (c) the wishes and requirements of members of the deceased’s family to have him buried in Nigeria were reasonable and (d) the deceased could be buried in Lagos without delay and with proper respect and decency.


Richard Alomo is a member of the Family Law group. View his profile here: