Scottish Government
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Modernising fatal accident inquiries

Deaths of military personnel in Scotland now subject to mandatory inquiry.

Major changes which modernise the way fatal accident inquiries are carried out will come into force this week.

Changes introduced by the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act 2016 will ensure a system which is effective, efficient and fair.

The power to hold FAIs into the deaths of Scots abroad will be introduced for the first time.

An FAI will now have to be carried out for military service deaths in Scotland, as well as new categories of deaths including children in secure accommodation and deaths under police arrest, regardless of location.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing, said:

“We are bringing the law on FAIs into the 21st century, taking some important steps to broaden the scope of inquiries, including to deaths abroad and the deaths of military personnel on duty in Scotland.

“FAIs are an essential part of our justice system and we want to make sure they are as effective and fair as possible. Sheriffs will now play a more active role in the process, and the new Act requires people and organisations to respond to recommendations made by sheriffs which will improve compliancy and accountability.”

Liam Murphy, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said:

“We welcome the introduction of new legislation to reform and modernise the system of Fatal Accident Inquiries. We fully understand how difficult the often complex process can be for bereaved families and our own Family Liaison Charter helps ensure that families are kept fully informed about the progress of an investigation.”


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