Liam O

Fatal Accident Enquiries

Fatal Accident Enquiries are often referred to as FAI’s. This area of the law is governed by the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Enquiry Scotland Act 1976. An inquiry must be held in cases of death in police custody or as a result of an accident at work.

If you or your organisation are ‘invited’ to be a party to a Fatal Accident Inquiry you should obtain immediate independent legal advice.

An FAI may be held in cases of sudden, suspicious or unexplained death. Our experienced team of solicitors at Liam O’Donnell & Co can assist parties with an interest through this process and its aftermath.

If you are not sure whether you require legal advice please simply contact us and we will provide you with guidance. The first interview is free and can be used simply to provide reassurance.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry is essential a fact finding exercise carried out in the public interest. The purpose of an FAI is to enable the Sheriff to determine:

  1. Where and when the death took place.
  2. The cause of death.
  3. Whether any reasonable precautions might have prevented the death.
  4. Any defects in the system of working which contributed to the death.
  5. Any other relevant factors.

There are usually around 50 or 60 fatal Accident Inquiries in Scotland each year. Following the conclusion of an FAI the Procurator Fiscal can commence criminal proceedings.

Whilst the final determination of an FAI cannot be relied upon in an action for damages, the evidence given can be vital to any party involved in such an action. Engaging the legal expertise of Liam O’Donnell & Co early in the proceedings will ensure that your interests are represented in the appropriate manner.

Any Fatal Accident Inquiry is led by the Procurator Fiscal acting in the public interest. They collate all the evidence and decide who should be invited to seek representation at the FAI. A Sheriff presides at the hearing with no jury.

Very often parties are invited to attend at Fatal Accident Inquiries and can arrange legal representation through insurance policies or can apply for legal aid.

Some more information on Fatal Accident Inquiries can be obtained from the Scottish Government.

Please contact us if you need any advice at the earliest possible stage.

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