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01/07/14 12:14

Consultation into FAIs opens

Scottish Government committed to modernising process

A consultation seeking views on proposals to modernise legislation on Fatal Accident Inquiries is being launched today (Tuesday, 1 July).

The proposals aim to implement the remaining recommendations of Lord Cullen’s 2009 Review of Fatal Accident Inquiry Legislation to help modernise the way FAIs are handled in Scotland.

It will also seek views on:

  • building on the recommendations implemented by the Crown Office to make the system more efficient

  • extending the categories of death in which it is mandatory to hold a fatal accident inquiry

  • placing a requirement on those who Sheriffs direct recommendations at the conclusion of the inquiry to respond.

  • permitting discretionary FAIs into deaths of Scots abroad where the body is repatriated to Scotland

  • options for holding FAIs in alternative accommodation

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“Modernising the process around Fatal Accident Inquiries is something I gave a commitment on, and a Bill will be introduced within the lifetime of this Parliament.

“In 2008, the Scottish Government commissioned an independent review into the legislation around fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) in Scotland lead by Lord Cullen. The process was designed to ensure that the FAI system was fit for purpose in the light of changes to other parts of the justice system.

“Lord Cullen made 36 recommendations, some of these were the responsibility of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). These have been implemented through the formation of the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, however this consultation will build on these changes and give further consideration to other vital areas.

“This consultation is designed to ultimately develop a policy that streamlines the FAI process to ensure it is more efficient and robust.”

Notes to editors

Information on the Review of Fatal Accident Inquiry Legislation is available here

The Consultation is available here