A new fatal accident inquiry (FAI) law has been passed which means that FAIs can now be conducted in cases where Scottish nationals die in accidents abroad; even in circumstances where their bodies are not repatriated.
Although there were some earlier indications that some MSPs might oppose the bill over concerns that it failed to cover some vital issues, in the end the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Bill received unanimous backing.
The major criticism of the bill had been that it failed to include provision for legal aid for families of those left bereaved by fatal accidents. However, families will now have the right to be informed of ongoing investigations into the death of a loved one, the possibility of criminal proceedings, and the likelihood of an FAI.
In addition to now ensuring that FAIs will apply to those killed in accidents abroad, the legislation also ensures that such inquiries will take place following the deaths of children in secure accommodation as well as for those who die while in police custody.
"This new legislation will strengthen fatal accident inquiry legislation and bring it into the 21st century, ensuring that inquires are effective, efficient and fair through implementing the recommendations of Lord Cullen," commented Legal Affairs Minister Paul Wheelhouse.
Furthermore, he described the introduction of FAIs for accidents abroad as "a hugely important step".
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