Fatal Accident Inquiries

Compass Chambers is a leader in the field of Fatal Accident Inquiry representation.

Advocates from Compass Chambers regularly provide expert advice and advocacy in this specialist area of practice to a wide variety of participants. Our members are recognised consistently for Fatal Accident Inquiry work in Chambers UK and in Legal 500. Our advocates are also happy to provide structured and tailored training to litigators working in this area. 

Compass Chambers has core strengths in a number of practice areas which complement our Fatal Accident Inquiry work. This means our advocates are well-placed to advise not only in relation to the Fatal Accident Inquiry proceedings themselves, including responding to determinations, but also on associated proceedings, particularly damages claims, criminal prosecutions for breaches of health and safety legislation, and other forms of regulatory sanction. 

Our highly-experienced counsel bring adaptability and strategic thinking to Fatal Accident Inquiry work, using the latest case management software to prepare and present evidence and submissions to the court.

Our advocates have extensive experience of representing participants in large, complex and high-profile Fatal Accident Inquiries. They represent the interests of individuals, corporate organisations and public bodies in a wide variety of inquiries held under the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016. Our members have appeared in many of the most complex recent Fatal Accident Inquiries to be held in Scotland, including:

  • The M9 Conjoined Inquiry into the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell (2023), in which senior and junior counsel from Compass Chambers appeared for the Crown, the Police Service of Scotland, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland and a former senior police officer.
  • The Sumburgh Helicopter Crash Inquiry (Inverness, 2020) in which a significant number of both senior and junior counsel from Compass Chambers have been instructed to appear on behalf of individuals and organisations, including both pilots, the aircraft manufacturer, a North Sea oil services company and the Civil Aviation Authority;
  • The Parkinson Inquiry (Dundee 2020) in which all participants apart from the procurator fiscal were represented by counsel from Compass Chambers;
  • The Clutha Helicopter Crash Inquiry (2019) in which a significant number of both senior and junior counsel from Compass Chambers were instructed and appeared on behalf of individuals and organisations, including the aircraft manufacturer, aircraft operator, Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airline Pilots’ Association;
  • Inquiry into the death of professional boxer Michael Towell (2018);
  • The conjoined Jim Clark/ Snowman Rally Inquiry (2017);
  • Liberton High School FAI (2017);
  • Queensferry Crossing FAI (2017);
  • Craigton Cemetery FAI (2016/ 2017);
  • Glasgow Bin Lorry Inquiry (2015);
  • Superpuma Inquiry (2014).

Fatal Accident Inquiries routinely raise a wide range of issues, including medical negligence and breaches of health and safety in the construction industry, offshore incidents, road traffic accidents and deaths in custody. With all of these issues falling within Compass Chambers’ three core specialisms (regulatory crime, reparation and professional negligence), our advocates are uniquely well placed to offer high levels of expertise and experience.

As in every area of practice, flexible and transparent fee structures can be agreed commensurate with the length and difficulty of the particular inquiry instructed.

  •  Compass Chambers is ‘the default choice for white-collar crime and Fatal Accident Inquiries’ - Chambers UK 2021

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  • Compass Chambers
    Parliament House
    EH1 1RF