Ownership right for the dead body and its parts


Today, the dead body is used almost all over the world both for its disposal (burial, cremation) and for other purposes. The jurisprudence inevitably faces the issue on the legal regime of these objects. Therefore, the author of the article attempts to study the general tendencies of recognizing the ownership right of the dead bodies and their separated parts within the framework of case law and international law. As a result of the conducted study, the author has concluded that the courts of the leading case law countries have gradually begun to recognize the ownership right of the dead body and its separated parts since 1908. And the norms of international law from the second half of the XX century began to recognize the ownership right of the dead body and its separated parts, though not directly. Moreover, both for those parts that are separated for further transplantation and for those separated for another purpose. The ownership right also arises for the dead body, if it represents a cultural (historical) value. For example, these are mummies, embalmed bodies, their parts, relics of saints, etc. The generalization of the conclusions indicates that the dead body becomes the item of property from the moment of a person’s death. At the same time, the dead body or its part retains personal intangible value, and therefore can be considered as objects of personal non-property rights, which, in fact, limits the fullness of the ownership right.


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