FAIs Legislation To Be Considered

5 May 2015, 08:56

Campaigners who have lost loved ones will call on MSPs to ensure their deaths were not in vain as new legislation for Fatal Accident Inquiries is considered at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee will begin taking evidence on the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Bill today.

MSPs will hear from Louise Taggart, whose electrician brother Michael Adamson, 26, was electrocuted while at work in 2005.

She is a founder member of the campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers, set up to stop workers and others being killed in preventable incidents.

The group wants time limits for holding FAIs and calls for a review of the practice of inquiries taking place after criminal proceedings.

A written submission to the committee said: "It is utterly unacceptable that families are having to wait so long for answers as to why their loved ones died.

"The stress of getting through each day without a husband, son, parent, sibling, etc, by your side is hard enough.

"Doing that while not knowing how or why they died makes it all the more unbearable.

"A family who loses a loved one in a work-related incident needs to know that the death has not been for nothing.

"There is a fundamental need to know that some good is going to come from the death.

"We would urge you to put that at the heart of your deliberations on the Bill.''

The legislation aims to implement most of the recommendations made in a 2009 review of the system by retired senior judge Lord Cullen, who will also give evidence to the committee today.

The Bill seeks to make the system more efficient and would extend the categories of death for which it is mandatory to hold an FAI.

It would also allow for FAIs to be held into the deaths of Scots abroad where the body is repatriated, a measure campaigned for by Julie Love.

She set up charity Death Abroad You're Not Alone after her son Colin, 23, died in a swimming accident in Venezuela in 2009.

In a written submission, she said: "My son had died thousands of miles away in another country and there was no assistance whatsoever from any governing body in the UK.

"Appalled at this and the total lack of respect towards my deceased son, I vowed to ensure no other family were treated like ours.

"I speak for many bereaved Scots families who feel that they have not had a voice in the current Scottish legal system, they welcome this major change to Scots law and the impact this will have for future families who find themselves in such a traumatic situation.''

The committee will also hear from retired RAF Flight Lieutenant and campaigner James Jones.

Lord Cullen has held public inquiries into the Piper Alpha oil platform explosion, the Dunblane school massacre and the Ladbroke Grove train crash in London.