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COPFS

Death Reports and View and Grant Examinations

Freedom of Information - Death Reports and View and Grant Examinations

Thank you for your e-mail of 22 April 2014 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

"I am currently researching the number of post mortems and view and grant examinations carried out in cases reported to the Procurator Fiscal, for the following financial years: 2008/09; 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2013/14.  I have been able to access the number of deaths reported on your website.  If the information is available for the aforementioned calendar years, that would also acceptable, whichever format is easiest to compile."


We have now completed our search for the information you request. You may wish to note that while we have provided figures in response to your request, our case management system is not designed to provide statistical information. It is a live, operating database and the information contained within it is structured accordingly. While we have provided you with the information held on our systems at this time, this information may, therefore, be subject to change as our systems are updated for operational reasons.

A post mortem is instructed to ascertain the cause of death if no medical practitioner is able to certify the cause of death or, more rarely, if the Procurator Fiscal considers that in the particular circumstances an expert opinion from a pathologist is required.

It is a matter for the Procurator Fiscal based on the individual facts and circumstances to decide whether there should be a post mortem examination, the nature and extent of that examination and the expert who will conduct it.

The figures contained in the table below refer to death reports received and numbers of full post mortems and View & Grant examinations instructed by Procurators Fiscal during financial years 2008 to 2014.

"View and Grant" is a non-invasive procedure which involves an experienced pathologist externally examining the body of the deceased whilst considering the deceased’s history and the events surrounding the death. The pathologist will confirm to the Procurator Fiscal that a full post mortem examination is required if they are not in a position to certify the cause of death on the basis of a View and Grant examination.

The "Death Reports Received" figures are already accessible on our web-site using the link below but for ease of reference I have included them in the table below

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Statistics/Case%20Processing%20Last%205%20Years%202008-13.pdf

Financial Year

Death Reports Received

Post mortems instructed

View & Grant Examination

2008/09

13,531

5,361

1,000

2009/10

13,498

4,806

1,094

2010/11

13,112

4,890

770

2011/12

11,671

4,645

899

2012/13

11,021

5,180

824

2013/14

9,549

5,060

864

You may also wish to refer to information on the role of the Procurator Fiscal in relation to dealing with deaths which is also accessible on our web-site using the link below.

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/deaths