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Act of Sederunt (Fatal Accident Inquiry Rules) 2017

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Lay representation for non-natural persons

Interpretation

19.—(1) In paragraphs 19 to 22—

“authorisation document” means a document executed by a non-natural person of a type mentioned in the first column of the following table authorising an individual holding the relevant position mentioned in the corresponding second column to act as its lay representative—

Type of non-natural personRelevant position
a companya director or a secretary of the company
a limited liability partnershipa member of the limited liability partnership
any other partnershipa partner in the partnership
an unincorporated association of personsa member or office holder of the association

“non-natural person” means—

(a)

a company (whether incorporated in the United Kingdom or elsewhere);

(b)

a limited liability partnership;

(c)

any other partnership; or

(d)

an unincorporated association of persons;

“lay representative” means an individual who is not a legal representative; and

“legal representative” means—

(a)

a solicitor;

(b)

an advocate; or

(c)

a person having a right to conduct litigation, or a right of audience, by virtue of section 27 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990(1).

(2) An individual holds a relevant position with a non-natural person if the individual—

(a)in the case of a company, is a director or secretary of the company;

(b)in the case of a limited liability partnership, is a member of the partnership;

(c)in the case of any other partnership, is a partner in the partnership; or

(d)in the case of an unincorporated association, is a member or office holder of the association.

(3) References to conducting proceedings are references to exercising, in relation to the proceedings, a function or right (including a right of audience) that a legal representative could exercise in the proceedings.

Lay representation of non-natural persons at inquiries

20.—(1) This section applies where a non-natural person is a participant at an inquiry.

(2) A lay representative may, if the sheriff grants permission, conduct the inquiry proceedings on behalf of the non-natural person.

(3) The sheriff may grant permission if satisfied that—

(a)the non-natural person is unable to pay for the services of a legal representative to conduct the inquiry proceedings;

(b)the lay representative is a suitable person to conduct the inquiry proceedings; and

(c)it is in the interests of justice to grant permission.

(4) For the purposes of subparagraph (3)(b), a lay representative is a suitable person to conduct the proceedings if—

(a)the lay representative holds a relevant position with the non-natural person;

(b)the responsibilities of the lay representative in that position do not consist wholly or mainly of conducting legal proceedings on behalf of the non-natural person or another person;

(c)the lay representative is authorised by the non-natural person to conduct the inquiry proceedings;

(d)the lay representative does not have a personal interest in the subject matter of the inquiry proceedings; and

(e)the lay representative is not the subject of an order of the sheriff preventing a lay representative from conducting any proceedings before any sheriff on behalf of non-natural persons.

(5) In subparagraph (4)(d), “personal interest” means an interest other than one that anyone holding the position that the lay representative holds with the non-natural person would have.

(6) For the purposes of subparagraph (3)(c), in deciding whether it is in the interests of justice to grant permission, the sheriff must have regard, in particular, to—

(a)the non-natural person’s interest in the inquiry proceedings; and

(b)the likely complexity of the inquiry proceedings.

Applications for authorisation of lay representatives for non-natural persons

21.—(1) An application for permission for a lay representative to conduct proceedings on behalf of a non-natural person is to be made in Form S4.21.

(2) The application must be accompanied by an authorisation document.

(3) An application may be considered in chambers and without hearing the participants.

(4) Where the sheriff grants an application, the sheriff may—

(a)do so in respect of one or more specified hearings;

(b)withdraw permission of the sheriff’s own accord or on the application of a participant.

Lay representation of non-natural persons: functions, conditions and duties

22.—(1) A lay representative may be shown any document (including a court document) or receive any information about the inquiry proceedings without the non-natural person, or any of its office holders or employees, contravening any prohibition or restriction on disclosure of the document or information.

(2) Where a document or information is disclosed under subparagraph (1), the lay representative is subject to any prohibition or restriction on disclosure in the same way that the non-natural person is.

(3) The sheriff, of the sheriff’s own accord or on the application of a participant, may impose conditions on the exercise of functions by a lay representative, where it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice.

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