Sudden and unexplained deaths often require multi-agency involvement and can be particularly challenging, both for those who are bereaved and for professionals. You may be part of a team involved which includes representatives from Police Scotland (e.g. Police Family Liaison), Procurator Fiscal and Crown Office, healthcare professionals and others. The conflicting roles of these agencies can add additional demands and complexities.

Sudden

is a death which was clinically unexpected, whether or not the cause was known

Unexplained

is a death where the cause is not known or is not clear

Understanding the processes following a sudden or unexplained death

 

This animated video, explores the processes and agencies who may be involved following a sudden or unexplained death.

A transcript of this video can be found here

The Role of the Procurator Fiscal

Advice specifically for medical practitioners on the role of the Procurator Fiscal can be found here

This includes guidance on:

  • Which deaths to report
  • The timing of reporting
  • How to report
  • Common misconceptions
  • Information that will be required

More information on the role of the Procurator Fiscal can be found on the Support Around Death website here and on the Crown Office website

An information leaflet produced by the Crown Office for those who are bereaved, in order to explain the role of the Procurator Fiscal in the investigation of deaths can be found here

Additional information is also provided by the Scottish Government

Downloadable poster - key roles

This downloadable educational poster, outlines the key roles of the professionals who may be involved following a sudden or unexplained death.

It may be relevant to professionals across a number of different organisations and sectors.