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


Section 13 – Jurisdiction in relation to inquiries

46.Section 13(1) provides that an FAI may be held in any sheriffdom in Scotland regardless of the place of the death or (if applicable) any accident causing the death. This removes the requirement of a close connection between the place most closely connected with the circumstances of the death and the procurator fiscal for the sheriff court district relating to that place that is provided by section 1 of the 1976 Act. This allows greater flexibility in the system of FAIs which may allow inquiries to be held more quickly if they can be accommodated in alternative accommodation. This flexibility still permits an FAI to be heard locally in relation to the circumstances of the death, however, and indeed it is expected that the majority of FAIs will be held in the same sheriffdom as the place of death.

47.Subsection (2) allows the Lord Advocate to choose in which sheriffdom the FAI is to be held, after consulting with the SCTS. It does not allow the Lord Advocate to choose the place or building within the sheriffdom where the FAI will be held, which will be a matter for discussion between the Lord Advocate (who will have been in contact with any relatives of the deceased), the sheriff principal and the SCTS. Ultimately the decision is for the sheriff principal under his or her powers relative to the efficient disposal of business contained in the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

48.Subsections (3) and (5) allow the sheriff to transfer the FAI to another sheriffdom, but only after the procurator fiscal and the participants have been given an opportunity to make representations about such a transfer and only with the consent of the sheriff principal for that sheriffdom and the sheriffdom to which the FAI is to transfer. The transfer order may be made at the sheriff’s own initiative or at the instigation of the procurator fiscal or one of the participants at the FAI.

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