Fatal Accident Inquiries and Public Inquiries

Advocates from Compass Chambers regularly provide expert advice and advocacy in this niche specialism. They have also provided training, delivered lectures, and written extensively, in relation to this specialist and often challenging area of practice and have been consistently recognised for their work in Chambers and Partners and in the Legal 500.

With the breadth of experience that Compass has to offer, our advocates are well placed to advise on related matters, such as negligence claims and judicial review. As many inquiries either follow criminal prosecutions or are the prelude to a civil action, instructing advocates from Compass at the outset therefore provides the degree of continuity and familiarity with the case that best serves the client.

Our adaptability, strategic and tactical awareness, along with the ability to manage, absorb and distil huge amounts of complex material makes us market leaders in this field in Scotland.

Fatal Accident Inquiries

Our advocates have extensive experience of representing parties in large-scale, complex and technical Fatal Accident Inquiries and are regularly instructed to represent the interests of individuals, as well as professional bodies and corporate organisations, with instructions having included:

  • The Inquiry into the deaths at the Clutha Bar, Glasgow (2019) in which a significant number of both Senior and Junior Counsel from Compass were instructed and appeared on behalf of individuals and organisations, including the aircraft manufacturer, aircraft operator, Civil Aviation Authority and the British Air Line 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).

Counsel from Compass are presently instructed on behalf of interested parties in the investigation into the helicopter crash at Sumburgh, in relation to which an Inquiry is expected to commence in 2020.

Fatal Accident Inquiries routinely raise a wide range of issues, including: medical negligence, breaches of health and safety in the construction industry, offshore incidents, road accidents and deaths in custody. With all of these issues falling within our three core specialisms (reparation, regulatory crime and professional negligence), our advocates are uniquely well placed to offer the best level 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 hearing instructed.

Public Inquiries

Whether as counsel to the inquiry or representing core participants, families, duty holders or public bodies, our advocates have been instructed in every public inquiry in Scotland to be held under the 2005 Inquiries Act, namely:

  • The Campbell Inquiry (Fingerprints)
  • The Penrose Inquiry (Contaminated blood)
  • The Vale of Leven Inquiry (Hospital-acquired infection)
  • The Stockline Inquiry (Gas explosion)
  • Edinburgh Tram Inquiry
  • Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

In addition to acting in Scotland-based inquiries under the 2005 Act, our members have been instructed in public inquiries with a UK-wide remit, with counsel from Compass presently instructed in the Infected Blood Inquiry and with members having been chosen to act as Inquiry Counsel in the very first inquiry to be held under the 2005 Inquiries Act, namely the Billy Wright Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

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