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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 13: Investigation in England and Wales despite body being brought to Scotland

131.There may be cases where the Lord Advocate initially decides that it would be appropriate for a Fatal Accident Inquiry to be held into the circumstances of the death but, for whatever reason, the Lord Advocate reverses this decision. In those circumstances the Lord Advocate can notify the Chief Coroner that it may be appropriate for an investigation to take place in England and Wales. An example may be that the family may have moved to England before the inquiry has taken place or other circumstances have changed which indicate that an investigation in England or Wales is more appropriate.

132.Subsection (1) enables the Chief Coroner to direct a senior coroner in England or Wales to conduct an investigation into a death where a body has been brought back to Scotland. The power to make such a direction exists if the deceased is a person who, when he or she died, was subject to service law under section 367 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 and was on active service, preparing for or supporting active service, or engaged in training for active service. It also covers where the deceased was a person not subject to service law but, by virtue of paragraph 7 of Schedule 15 to the 2006 Act, was a civilian subject to service discipline who was accompanying persons subject to service law who were engaged in active service. Secondly, the Lord Advocate must have been notified by the Secretary of State or the Chief Coroner that it may be appropriate for the death to be investigated under the 1976 Act. Thirdly, the body must have been brought to Scotland.

133.Fourthly, no Fatal Accident Inquiry must have taken place (or, if one has been started, it must not yet have finished). Fifthly the Lord Advocate must have advised the Chief Coroner that in the Lord Advocate’s view, it may be appropriate for a coroner investigation, in England or Wales, to take place. Lastly, the Chief Coroner must have reason to suspect that the duty to investigate deaths under section 1 (which applies to deaths in England and Wales) would apply to the death, namely that the deceased died a violent or unnatural death; the cause of death being unknown; or the deceased died in custody or other state detention. If all those circumstances apply to a death the Chief Coroner may direct a coroner in England or Wales to conduct an investigation. Any coroner given such a direction must conduct an investigation into the death, subject to section 3.

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