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Modernising fatal accident inquiries 13/06/2017 Major changes that modernise the way fatal accident inquiries are carried out will come into force this week.

Modernising fatal accident inquiries

Major changes that modernise the way fatal accident inquiries are carried out will come into force this week. The Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act 2016 will introduce the power to hold FAIs into the deaths of Scots abroad 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.

Other aspects of the incoming laws include:

  • The power to reopen an FAI if new evidence arises, and to hold a fresh FAI if the new evidence is substantial enough.
  • Flexibility on the locations and accommodation for FAIs.
  • Single FAIs into linked events in different sheriffdoms
  • A requirement on individuals or organisations to explain how they have implemented recommendations placed on them by a sheriff after an FAI, or why none have been implemented.

“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,” said Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing. “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.”

The changes will come into force on Thursday 15th June.

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