October 2015

Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Etc. (Scotland) Bill

We provided a stage 1 briefing to MSPs on the Bill.  In the brief we stated our concerns that the Bill does not reflect Lord Cullen’s recommendation that relatives being represented  at a fatal accident inquiry should receive legal aid without showing the need for it to be reasonable.  Relatives appearing at a FAI are likely to find the experience of appearing at a FAI Daunting and traumatic, and we consider legal representation to be necessary.    expense of increasing availability of legal representation would be minimal in terms of the entire legal aid budget.  We also propose that some consideration be given to the creation of a statutory right to a FAI, and highlight our belief that this would only give rise to a small increase in the numbers of FAIs held throughout Scotland each year.  Such a hearing would provide closure to those dissatisfied families, should have a minimal economic impact, but would reinforce public confidence in Scotland’s system for investigation of apparently self-inflicted deaths.

The full brief is available on our website