The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 19 March 2015.
The Policy Memorandum states that the policy objective of the Bill is—
"to reform and modernise the law governing the holding of fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) in Scotland. It largely implements the recommendations made in the 2009 Review of the Fatal Accident Inquiry Legislation led by the Rt Hon the Lord Cullen of Whitekirk KT, the former Lord President of the Court of Session, insofar as these have not already been implemented.”
The Bill would—
- build on the recommendations implemented by COPFS to make the system more efficient;
- extend the categories of death in which it is mandatory to hold a fatal accident inquiry;
- place a requirement on those to whom sheriffs direct recommendations at the conclusion of the inquiry to respond;
- permit discretionary FAIs into deaths of Scots abroad where the body is repatriated to Scotland;
- permit FAIs to be re-opened if new evidence arises or, if the evidence is so substantial, to permit a completely new inquiry to be held; and
- provide flexibility for the locations and accommodation for FAIs.
Read more about the Bill in the SPICe briefing paper
The Committee issued a call for written evidence. The call for evidence closed on 28 April 2015.
The Committee took oral evidence at its meetings on 5, 12, 19, 26 May and 9 June 2015.
Following the evidence session on 26 May 2015, the Committee received correspondence from the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.
The Committee published its Stage 1 report to the Parliament on 1 July 2015.
Consideration of the Bill at Stage 1 concluded with the debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 24 September 2015.
The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and the Mental Welfare Commission wrote to the Convener to address a number of issues in advance of Stage 2 proceedings:
In advance of Stage 3 consideration, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) wrote to the Committee enclosing its Charter to Bereaved Families: Access to Information and Liaison with the Procurator Fiscal.