Fatal Accident Inquiry Bill is published

20 Mar

Plans for modernising the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) system in Scotland have been set out by the Scottish Government.

Ministers say the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Bill will "set out practical measures for a system which is effective, efficient and fair."

One of the major changes is to allow for discretionary FAIs into the deaths of Scots abroad where the body is repatriated to Scotland.

James Wolffe, QC, Dean of Faculty, said: "I welcome the publication of this Bill, which will modernise and update the legal structures within which fatal accident inquiries are undertaken. Fatal accident inquiries are an important part of our judicial system. They secure an independent and public inquiry into the circumstances of a death. The Bill largely implements recommendations made by Lord Cullen in his review of the fatal accident inquiry legislation. The Faculty will look in detail at the provisions in the Bill with a view to submitting evidence to the Parliament in due course."

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Community Safety, said: "Fatal Accident Inquiry legislation needs to be brought into the 21st century and this Bill will undoubtedly improve the FAI process in this country. In particular, the introduction of the possibility of a Fatal Accident Inquiry for deaths abroad is a hugely important step in providing answers for families.

"The fact that those who receive recommendations from Sheriffs will now have a statutory requirement to report back also means the process will be much more robust, accountable and efficient."

The Bill and related documents can be found at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/87332.aspx