Consensus Needed on FAIs

4 September 2015, 06:00

A Holyrood committee has urged Labour and the Scottish Government to work together to improve fatal accident inquiries.

Parliament is currently considering two bills designed to improve FAIs, one from the Scottish Government and a member's bill by Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson.

Holyrood's Justice Committee has commended Ms Ferguson for her work but said the best route for putting her provisions into law would be to work with the Scottish Government to strengthen its Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Bill.

Like the government's Bill, Ms Ferguson's Bill would repeal and replace the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, and give effect to many of the recommendations of Lord Cullen's review of FAI legislation.

Committee convener Christine Grahame said: "The whole fatal accident inquiry process has been put under the microscope lately.

"The very nature of the legislation means that wider interest in this area is triggered by tragedy and loss. It is important the law helps families at this most difficult of times.

"As a committee, we very much share Ms Ferguson's view that the FAI system stands or falls on whether it ensures that lessons are learned and we support many of her recommendations for improvement.

"We welcome Ms Ferguson's determination to improve the inquiry process for the families and friends of victims.

"We have also already welcomed the government's bill in the same area and see it as the appropriate vehicle to take FAI reform forward.

"We would encourage Ms Ferguson and the Scottish Government to talk to each other about strengthening the government's Bill further as it proceeds to its amending stages.''