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Fatal Accident Inquiries (R015469)

Thank you for your request dated 22 February 2017 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:

"…details of all Fatal Accident Inquiries held into deaths in hospital in each year since 2007. This should include at the very least an annual total, although if possible the name of the individual involved and brief details of the individual circumstances would be much appreciated.

In addition, either as a separate request or part of this main request, could I also request the total number of FAIs held each year since 2007 - just a numeric total would be enough in this case."

We do endeavour to provide information whenever possible. However, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Under Section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of criminal cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes.

In order to identify Fatal Accident Inquiries held into deaths in hospital, staff would be required to consider individually each case in which a Fatal Accident Inquiry had been held and the time taken to complete this task would exceed the upper cost limit.

In relation to the second part of your request, I attach a table below providing the number of Fatal Accident Inquiries concluded in the years requested.

R015469 Pic 1

You may wish to note, however, that our case management system is designed to record the outcome of deaths recorded to Procurators Fiscal. Therefore, where appropriate, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will be recorded in relation to each death reported. This does not take account, for example, of cases in which a single FAI is held in respect of a number of deaths arising from the same circumstances. For example, where the circumstances surrounding two deaths are considered at a single FAI, our system will record this as two inquiries and may, therefore, provide an artificially high number. It may be that you might wish to check this information with the Scottish Court Service who may be in a position to provide you with more accurate information.

I should also make you aware that the figures provided in this FOI response may differ from information previously published on the COPFS website in relation to FAIs. This is because our database is a live system and figures can change as updates are made to that system. The information provided in this response accurately reflects the position at the current time.

It may interest you to know that the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service publish FAI judgments on their website. Not all judgments are published. Only where there is a significant point of law or particular public interest will the details be published. I attach a link to the relevant page of their website for your assistance: