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Human Tissue Act

The Human Tissue Act (HT Act) became effective from 1st September 2006. The HT Act regulates removal, storage and use of human tissue – defined as material that has come from a human body and consists of, or includes, human cells. This means that it is now unlawful to carry out these activities without an appropriate licence.  The Act is upheld and regulated by the Human Tissue Authority which is an independent watchdog with the remit of protecting public confidence by ensuring that human tissue is used safely and ethically, and with proper consent.  Organisations that store and use human tissue for the purposes listed below must have a licence to do so:

  • teaching about or studying the human body
  • carrying out post-mortem examinations
  • using human tissue to treat patients
  • carrying out research on human tissue
  • displaying human bodies or tissue in public (e.g. in a museum)

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for further advice on the Act or to see if you are affected. Further information may be obtained from the Department of Pathology at


Licensing structure

HTA Contacts for 2015

How to Transport Biological Samples, Cultures and Other Scientific/Research-Related Items (rev 1), plus ACDP Transport of TSE Infected Material

Disposal of Biological/Clinical Laboratory Waste