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Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016

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Section 12 – Places at which inquiries may be held

42.The Scottish Ministers may make regulations under section 12 to designate places at which a sheriff court may be held for the purposes of holding an FAI. Subsection (1) makes it clear that these places are additional to the places already designated for the holding of sheriff courts under the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. “Places” in this sense means the towns and cities where sheriff courts are held – it does not mean specific sheriff court buildings as FAIs have already been held in other buildings.

43.An FAI may be held at a sheriff court building, but it may also be held in another building in a place designated under the 2014 Act or section 12 of the 2016 Act. This allows the current practice of holding FAIs in buildings not usually used for court purposes (e.g. locations such as the Council Chamber in, for example, Aberdeen City Chambers and the Maryhill Community Centre in Glasgow, or in places where there is no sheriff court (e.g. Motherwell)).

44.Since the SCTS has the statutory responsibility for providing property for the Scottish courts under section 61(1) of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008, the Scottish Ministers will only make regulations under subsection (1) following the submission of a proposal by the SCTS – with the agreement of the Lord President – for the designation of a place for the holding of FAIs under subsections (2) and (3). However, this procedure is subject to consultation with appropriate persons under subsection (4).

45.In making the regulations, the Scottish Ministers are to have regard to the SCTS proposal under subsection (5). Given the statutory responsibility which the Lord President has for the efficient disposal of business in Scotland’s courts under section 2(2) of the 2008 Act, and the equivalent responsibility of the SCTS set out above, the Scottish Ministers must obtain the consent of both the Lord President and the SCTS under subsection (6) before making those regulations. This power is subject to affirmative procedure.

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