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Deepcut Barracks

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 5495, tabled on 17 July 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will provide an update on the implementation of Recommendation 30 of the 2006 Deepcut Review, published in March 2006.

Answered on

25 July 2017

Recommendation 30 of the 2006 Deepcut Review was as follows:-

"There should always be an inquest or, in Scotland, a Fatal Accident Inquiry, into a sudden death of a soldier, wherever the death has occurred".

Section 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides that the coroner has a duty to investigate the death of a body in his or her area if the coroner has reason to believe that the deceased died a violent or unnatural death or if the cause of death is unknown. This means that there will always be a coroner investigation, including an inquest, into the death of a member of the Armed Forces on exercises or operations, or where a death has occurred as a result of suicide or an accident, even when the death has occurred overseas and the Service person is returned to England and Wales. In some limited circumstances, for example where a death is a result of natural causes, the coroner has no jurisdiction to investigate.

Section 17 of the 2009 Act also provides that the Chief Coroner must monitor investigations into the deaths of Service personnel and ensure that coroners are trained to deal with such deaths.

Policy as to when a Fatal Accident Inquiry would take place is a matter for the Scottish Government, as this is a devolved matter.