Skip to main content

Language: English / GĂ idhlig


Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-28230

  • Asked by: Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Date lodged: 17 June 2024
  • Current status: Answered by Dorothy Bain on 9 July 2024


To ask the Scottish Government how many fatal accident inquiries are currently outstanding.


As of 19 June 2024, there are scheduled court dates for 45 Fatal Accident Inquiries where proceedings have been initiated (relating to 26 mandatory and 19 discretionary FAIs). There are also a further 14 Inquiries in which evidence has been concluded and the issuing of the Sheriff’s Determination is awaited. In addition, COPFS has 219 death investigations where FAI proceedings have not yet commenced or where court dates have not yet been fixed. Of these, 213 relate to ongoing investigations where a mandatory FAI requires to be held and 6 to investigations where I have instructed that a discretionary FAI is to be held.

These figures do not include cases where enquiries are ongoing and where a decision on the holding of a discretionary FAI will be taken at the conclusion of the investigation.

Before commencing an FAI, COPFS requires to conduct a thorough examination of the whole circumstances surrounding a death. There are often a number of complex factors to take into account including the need to await and consider expert evidence or reports from other agencies, such as the Health and Safety Executive, The National Health Service, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Prison Service, the Office of the Rail Regulator and many others. It can often take several years for these agencies to produce their reports to COPFS.

COPFS understands the impact that the delay in holding an FAI can have on bereaved families and is committed to working in partnership with all other agencies involved in death investigation to reduce the length of time it takes to initiate and conclude FAI’s.