Fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) must take place when someone dies at work, in custody and in certain other circumstances. The purpose is to work out the cause of death, and to see if lessons can be learned for the future.
Even where an FAI is not mandatory, the Procurator Fiscal can decide that one should take place, usually where there is a wider public interest.
FAIs can be very distressing processes for family members, or for those who are otherwise affected, such as professionals whose judgement has been called into question. The implications can be considerable for all concerned.
Anyone with an interest in an inquiry can be represented. Our team has experience in investigating and conducting FAIs across Scotland. We routinely help clients understand the process, and often work to persuade the Fiscal that an inquiry should take place. Once an FAI has been fixed, we are fully involved in determining what evidence should be led, and putting the client’s case across. This might involve arguing that the cause of death was different from that suggested by the authorities, or persuading the court that a particular measure would have prevented the death from happening.
Our lawyers are also able to call upon support from other departments within the firm: our Criminal Litigation solicitors can advise on possible criminal implications from particular findings, and our Reparation team can indicate whether there are grounds to bring civil litigation.
We also assist clients, whether as witnesses or core participants, in public inquiries. Public inquiries are fixed by Government in matters of particular public interest – for example to investigate the outbreak of a particular infection at a hospital, or to examine the circumstances surrounding a major accident. Public inquiries take a different form to FAIs. Often chaired by a retired judge or other senior lawyer, they follow specific terms of reference.
Public funding may be available for core participants (those who have an interest in the matter as a whole, and who are entitled to be represented in the inquiry) and witnesses (particularly those who face some criticism). Our work involves fully investigating the case and key issues, preparing evidential submissions, calling on expert witnesses where appropriate, and representation at the inquiry itself. We can also call upon the firm’s civil litigation experts for advice on wider implications.
Livingstone Brown is a leading firm of Scottish solicitors. Based in Glasgow, but dealing with cases around the country, the firm has been at the forefront of legal service provision for over thirty years.
If you have a legal problem, getting good quality legal information at the earliest stage can be invaluable. The firm offers a free initial enquiry service; all you have to do is call in, telephone, or e-mail. You won't be charged for your enquiry; we'll let you know by return whether we can help, what we can do, and how much it's likely to cost. We can also offer legal aid where available.
Led by former senior partner Gerard Brown CBE, who continues as a consultant, the firm has built up an enviable reputation for quality of service and client care.
The firm has won various awards over the years. In the 2019 edition of the prestigious Legal 500 rankings Livingstone Brown was ranked as a 'top-tier' firm for general criminal work, and is also recommended for fraud cases. Stuart Munro and Gerard Brown were named as 'Recommended Lawyers'. In the Chambers directory the firm has a Band 1 ranking for criminal work, and Stuart Munro is a ranked financial crime lawyer. The firm was named Criminal Defence Firm of the Year and Family Law Team of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards 2019.