(1) If any 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 or any specified part of his body be used after his death for therapeutic purposes or for purposes of medical education or research, the person lawfully in possession of his body after his death may, unless he has reason to believe that the request was subsequently withdrawn, authorise the removal from the body of any part or, as the case may be, the specified part, for use in accordance with the request.
(1A) Where a record of a request in writing to which subsection (1) of this section applies is held on a health computer system, the person lawfully in possession of the body of the person who made the request may, in reliance on the record, unless that person has reason to believe that the request was subsequently withdrawn, authorise the removal from the body of any part or (as the case may be) the specified part for use in accordance with that request.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1) of this section, it is hereby declared that the person lawfully in possession of the body of a deceased person may authorise the removal of any part from the body for use for the said purposes if, having made such reasonable inquiry as may be practicable, he has no reason to believe—
(b) That the surviving spouse, civil union partner, de facto partner, or any surviving relative of the deceased person objects to the body being so dealt with.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) of this section, the removal and use of any part of a body in accordance with an authority given in pursuance of this section shall be lawful.
(4) No such removal shall be effected except by a medical practitioner, who must have satisfied himself by personal examination of the body that life is extinct.
(5) A person who believes on reasonable grounds that a coroner may require a post-mortem examination of a body or may, in relation to a body, open an inquiry into the death concerned, must not, except with the coroner's consent,—
(6) No authority shall be given under this section in respect of any body by a person entrusted with the body for the purpose only of its interment or cremation.
(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed as rendering unlawful any dealing with, or with any part of, the body of a deceased person which is lawful apart from this Act.
Compare: 1908 No 116 ss 24A, 24B; 1954 No 40 s 2; Human Tissue Act 1961, s 1 (U.K.)
Subsection (1A) was inserted by section 3 Human Tissue Amendment Act 1989 (1989 No 121).
Subsection (2)(b) was amended, as from 1 January 2002, by section 53 Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 96), by inserting the words
“, surviving de facto partner of the same or different sex,” after the words
Subsection (2)(b) was amended, as from 26 April 2005, by section 7 Relationships (Statutory References) Act 2005 (2005 No 3) by substituting the words
“civil union partner, de facto partner” for the words
“surviving de facto partner of the same or different sex”.
Section 3(5): substituted, on 1 July 2007, by section 146 of the Coroners Act 2006 (2006 No 38).