Page last updated at 00:29 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Judge aims to improve FAI system

Lord Cullen
Lord Cullen said he wanted to improve the FAI system

The judge reviewing the fatal accident inquiry system (FAI) is launching a consultation to support his work.

Lord Cullen has been asked to consider changes to the law which might improve the investigation of sudden or unexpected deaths.

FAIs cover a wide range of cases, ranging from the Lockerbie bomb disaster to deaths at work.

Lord Cullen will look into whether the system needs to be updated for the first time in 30 years.

The former Lord President is consulting the public on a wide range of issues, including whether FAIs should be conducted into deaths of Scots abroad, or if inquiries should be mandatory in more cases.

Lord Cullen - who investigated the Piper Alpha and Dunblane tragedies - said he wanted to improve the the efficiency and effectiveness of the fatal accident inquiry system.

He told BBC Scotland: "I think, on the whole, it has worked well, but there's a very good reason, I think, after 30 years to look at it again.

"Some inquiries nowadays have to look into extremely complex matters, far beyond the complexity which was envisaged 30 years ago.

"Some have even suggested there should be a different forum altogether for medical cases or other scientific cases, where the evidence is complex."

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