Guidance

Information on deaths involving British Nationals in Nepal

You should be aware that Nepalese procedures differ significantly from those in the United Kingdom.

The death of a relative or a friend can be a traumatic experience. But if it happens abroad the distress can be made worse by practical problems. Consular Directorate in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Embassy in Kathmandu are ready to help in any way they can. You may be uncertain what to do next or who to contact for advice. These notes are designed to help you what to do next or who to contact for advice. While care has been taken in compiling these notes, no legal liability for the contents is accepted by the British Embassy in Nepal or the HM Government.

You should be aware that Nepalese procedures differ significantly from those in the United Kingdom. While we understand your need to make arrangements as quick as possible, this may not always be possible.

The information contained in this document is not meant to be a definitive statement of the law, nor is it to be taken as a substitute for independent legal advice.

Mortuary Facilities

There are mortuaries with refrigeration facilities at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Patan Hospital in Kathmandu. There is also a private mortuary with refrigeration facilities at the B P Koirala Memorial Hospital in Dharan. The refrigerated storage facilities at these hospitals are not the same standard as in the UK.

Autopsies (Post Mortems)

Autopsies are normally carries out at the Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu or within the relevant district, usually within 24 hours death but it could take few days in some exceptional cases. Organs are removed briefly from the body so that small sample can be taken for examination, then replaced. There are no circumstances in which organs would be removed and retained. Organ transplants are not available in Nepal. A body can normally be released for burial, cremation or repatriation once the autopsy is complete.

A brief autopsy report, death certificate summarising the cause of death is usually available within 24-48 hours and is available on request. A more detailed report could take several weeks.

Repatriation and Burial

A body can normally be released for burial, cremation or repatriation once the autopsy is complete.

If the deceased was covered by travel insurance, the insurance company will normally have a standing agreement with an international funeral director in Britain to arrange repatriations. If the deceased is not covered by insurance, the next of kin will need to appoint an international funeral director themselves in the UK.

Nepal is a Hindu country and although burial is possible most people cremate their loved ones. Burial is normally only possible for young childrenand members of the Muslim community. There is a crematorium approximately 7 kms east of Kathmandu at Pasphupati temple. There is also another crematorium at Shova Bhagwati (west of Kathmandu) but this is normally only available for Hindus. Buddhist’s cremations can also be performed at Swyambhu temple in Kathmandu.

Some international undertakers have recently formally established relationships with local funeral agents. Further advice and contact details can be obtained from the Consular Section of the British Embassy. Repatriation of bodies to the UK can normally be arranged within a week to ten days.

Registration of the death

Deaths of British nationals overseas are not automatically recorded in the UK Register Office, nor is there any obligation for the death overseas of a British national to be registered with the British Embassy. However, next of kin may find that there are advantages in doing so: a British form of death certificate is then available, and a record of the death is afterwards held at the General Register Office in the UK.

To apply from within the UK, you should complete the necessary paperwork and send it to:

Consular Death Registrations Foreign and Commonwealth Office Rm. K4.9 King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH.

If you are applying from Nepal,

You will need the following documents to register the death at the British Embassy in Nepal.

  • Doctor’s/hospital report detailing the cause of death
  • Passport of the deceased
  • Evidence of the deceased’s claim to British Nationality: full length (A4) British birth certificate OR certificate of naturalisation or registration as a British National
  • Completed death registration form

A local death certificate, citing the likely cause of death, will be issued in the Nepalese language, and is usually available within a day or two of death. You may wish to register the death at the Embassy. This carries a statutory fee £105. A certified copy in English can subsequently be obtained through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a fee of £65. Further information is available on our website: www.gov.uk/government/world/nepal

Return of Personal Effects.

Personal effects are normally returned to next of kin, or their authorised representative, without any formalities. If personal effects need to be returned to the UK and next of kin are not present in Nepal, the Embassy can assist with making arrangements by commercial means, though this must be funded by the insurance company or family/friends.

Police/Judicial Inquiries

In the case of suspicious death or a road traffic accident, the Police (or the Traffic Police, as appropriate) in the district in which the death occurred will lead an investigation. Once the investigation is complete, and if a suspect is apprehended or a vehicle driver is believed to be responsible, a report is prepared and passed to the Prosecutor. At this point the victim’s family are entitled to take a copy of the report and to comment on it if they wish.

The Prosecutor will then decide whether further enquiries are necessary, or whether to submit the case to the Court for a trial to take place. This can be a lengthy process and subject to delay and postponement. After the Judge has reached a verdict (there is no trial by jury in Nepal), there is a period of 70 days in which an appeal can be submitted to the Court of First Instance. If the matter can’t be resolved within 70 days this may be further extended for a further period of 30 days by the courts.

UK Coroners

When a body is repatriated to England or Wales, a coroner will hold an inquest only if the death was violent or unnatural, or if the death was sudden and the cause unknown. In some countries the cause of death is not given on the death certificate, and coroners do not generally have access to judicial files from other countries. Consequently coroners may order a post-mortem as part of the inquest.

Coroners can request copies of post mortem and police reports from the Nepalese authorities via the FCO in London. In some instances this can take several weeks.

In Scotland, the Scottish Executive is the responsible authority. However, they are not obliged to hold an inquest into cause of death. Coroners in Northern Ireland are also not obliged to hold an inquest into cause of death. However, next of kin can apply for a judicial review if no inquest is held.

Compensation

There are no formal government compensation schemes available, although damages can be claimed from the accused, and a decision will be made by the Judge when the case is heard.

Undertakers in Nepal who have experience of repatriating bodies to the UK

Global Assistance Nepal Contact: Mr Pushpa Das Shrestha (speaks English) PO Box 1331, Pratik Bhawan, Sitapaila, Ring Road, Kathmandu, Nepal Fax: 00977 1 4272164 Tel No: 4272264, 4273740, 4274467, 4283778 Email: globasst@mos.com.np

Nirvan Funeral Services Ghothatar Kathmandu Contact: Mr Walter Schweiger (speaks English) Mobile no: 009 77 9851022295 Email: newnirvana2010@yahoo.com

Published 12 July 2013