This briefing paper deals with the position in England and Wales. Memorials, in this context, are sometimes referred to using a number of different terms
including headstone, tombstone and gravestone.
Responsibility for maintaining individual memorials generally remains primarily with those who erected them. Local authorities, acting as burial authorities, have general powers of management in relation to public cemeteries. This includes power to take any action necessary to remove a danger which arises because of the condition of a vault, tombstone or memorial. Burial authorities also have duties of care under health and safety legislation and under the principles of occupier’s liability.