Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has today revealed the longest outstanding waits for fatal accident inquiries in Scotland now run to almost a decade and branded such inquiries “next to useless and an insult to families.”
The party are now calling for the Scottish Government to remove such inquiries from the remit of the Crown Office and set a one-year timeline for them to commence. For cases which do not commence within 12 months, the investigating body will be required to provide a report to the government and to relatives of the deceased outlining why this has occurred.
As of 28 October 2021:
- The longest wait for a fatal accident inquiry instructed that remains outstanding dates back to 2012/13 and runs to 3,427 days.
- The longest outstanding wait for a fatal accident inquiry where the deceased was in custody dates back to 2014/15 and runs to 2,678 days.
- 10 inquiries more than five years old remain outstanding.
- The average length of time it took to conclude a fatal accident inquiry completed in 2020/21 was 1,018 days, or almost three years.
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:
“The fatal accident inquiry system should be about offering closure for families and learning lessons for the future. A system that takes almost ten years to come to its conclusions is next to useless and an insult to families.
“Across Scotland families are desperate for answers about the fates of their loved ones but after a decade evidence is lost and memories fade.
“The Scottish Government have had plenty of opportunities to reform fatal accident inquiries but they have clung to a failed system. It is time FAIs were removed from the remit of the Crown Office and handed to a new body charged with ensuring that inquiries begin within a year and results are presented in a timely fashion.”