Professor Heather Conway
School of Law
Professor Heather Conway is an expert on death laws, and the legal issues around funerals and dealing with the dead.
Professor Conway’s research focuses on the laws surrounding the treatment of the dead; the legal frameworks around death, burial and cremation; and decision-making powers over human remains. Key areas of interest include new and emerging bodily disposal technologies; the resolution of family disputes surrounding funerals and post-cremation ashes; exhumation and commemoration of the dead; the legal status of funeral instructions; and the legal and financial issues posed by pre-paid funeral plans. Professor Conway is the author of The Law and the Dead (Routledge, 2016) and is a Council Member and trustee of the Cremation Society. She has delivered numerous presentations to deathcare professionals including the National Association of Funeral Directors, the Society and Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and Cruse Bereavement.
Heather is an expert on Posthumous Treatment of Human Remains; Property Law; Succession Law; Law and Emotion. Her work has focussed on various aspects of the law surrounding death and funerals, and specifically how the Coronavirus will alter funerals, how we deal with the dead; the advice that's being given to regional and local authorities to ensure advance planning; and the legal aspects of the emergency powers in the Coronavirus Bill (public health provisions, orders to bury and cremate the dead, transport of bodies etc).
Areas of Expertise
bodily disposal laws, burial, cremation, funeral planning, family funeral disputes, exhumation, commemorating the dead
Professor Conway has extensive experience with broadcast, print and online media, including interviews for BBC and Johannesburg radio.
- Coronavirus is changing funerals and how we deal with the deal, The Conversation, March 2020
Five Laws About the Dead that Might Spook You, The Conversation, June 2016 (over 750,000 reads)
Is someone reanimated from cryogenic freezing legally dead or alive? And other problems, The Conversation, November 2016
Everything you wanted to know about death…but were too afraid to ask, Belfast Telegraph, October 2017