Annex E Glossary of Terms
Advocates Depute are experienced prosecutors appointed by the Lord Advocate. Advocates Depute prosecute all cases in the High Court and present appeals in the Appeal Court.
Book of Regulations
A COPFS reference manual.
COPFS Federation Structure
COPFS is organised into four Federations, each led by a Procurator Fiscal. All operational work is managed within the East, West and North Federations. The fourth Federation is the National Federation which includes a number of specialist units including SFIU and all corporate functions.
The Law Officers (Lord Advocate and Solicitor General) and Advocates Deputes.
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
The independent public prosecution service in Scotland. It is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crime in Scotland. It is also responsible for the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths and the investigation of allegations of criminal conduct against police officers.
Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
A charity which seeks to help anyone experiencing bereavement to understand their grief and cope with loss1.
Term commonly used to refer to the medical certificate of cause of death required to enable registration of a death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Scotland.
Equality Advisory Group (EAG)
A Group established in 2003 consisting of COPFS staff and external members with a remit "to provide independent and informed advice to COPFS in relation to the impact of existing and future policies and practices on diversity and the promotion of equality and fairness in service delivery and employment" .
Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)
A tool to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the requirements of the public sector equality duty.
Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI)
A court hearing presided over by a Sheriff which publicly enquires into the circumstances of some sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths. A FAI must take place when someone dies in custody or a death is caused by an accident at work.
The process of preserving the brain.
Family Liaison Officer (FLO)
Police officers with special training in investigation and communication who are assigned to communicate with and support families where there is a police investigation into an unexplained or violent death.
Post‑mortem examinations carried out where it is suspected that the death is not from natural causes (e.g. accidental, homicidal, suicidal or where there is evidence of violence) and in cases, including death by natural causes and death while under medical care, where a prosecution or Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) may be pursued through the courts.
The science concerned with the study of the structure, composition and function of tissues.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)
An independent body which inspects and monitors police forces in England and Wales to promote and advance improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of policing.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMICS)
An independent body which provides independent scrutiny into the state, efficiency and effectiveness of Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority.
Hospital Post-Mortem Examinations
Post-mortems normally undertaken to provide information on potential genetic disorders in the interests of the nearest relatives.
Human Tissue Authority
Body that regulates the removal, storage, use and disposal of human bodies, organs and tissue for purposes such as research, post-mortem examination and teaching.
COPFS information database containing legal and non-legal guidance.
The Ministerial Head of COPFS. He is the senior of the two Law Officers, the other being the Solicitor General.
The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.
Where deceased persons are kept until the arrangements for post-mortem and/or the removal of the body for burial or cremation are made.
Closest family to the deceased.
Branch of medicine concerned with diseases of the brain and nervous system.
A post-mortem examination generally performed to confirm the cause of death due to natural causes and where no court proceedings are likely.
Organ Retention Database
Record maintained by SFIU National of all organs retained following the release of the deceased's body following a post-mortem examination instructed by Procurator Fiscal.
Branch of medicine concerned with the diseases and disorders of children.
Procurators Fiscal (PFs)
Legally qualified prosecutors who receive reports about crimes from the police and other agencies and make decisions on what action to take in the public interest and where appropriate prosecute cases. They also look into deaths that require further explanation and where appropriate conduct Fatal Accident Inquiries and investigate criminal complaints against the police.
An interview of a witness by a Procurator Fiscal or defence lawyer taken to prepare for a court case.
A member of staff who interviews witnesses and prepares cases for court.
Post-Mortem Examination (also known as Autopsy)
Dissection and examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death conducted by a medically qualified pathologist.
Age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation and marriage and civil partnership in relation to employment issues.
Quality Assurance (QA)
Improving performance and preventing problems through planned and systematic activities including documentation, training and review.
Royal College of Pathologists
Professional and advisory body which promotes the study, research and practice of pathology.
Scottish Cot Death Trust (SCDT)
A charity which seeks to improve and extend support for bereaved families, raise funds for research into causes of cot death and to educate the public and professionals on cot death.
Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU)
A national specialist unit responsible for investigating all sudden, suspicious, accidental and unexplained deaths in Scotland with designated teams in each COPFS Federation.
Sudden Death Report
A report submitted to the Procurator Fiscal by the police or a medical practitioner for any sudden, suspicious, accidental, unexpected or unexplained death in Scotland.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well baby. It is also known as cot death.
Text Relay (formerly RNID/Action on Hearing Loss Typetalk)
A communication service for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impediment and who cannot use a standard voice telephone. It connects people using a textphone with those using a telephone or other textphone.
A collection of cells that together carry out a specific role. Tissues include blood, blood vessels and muscle. Small samples or biopsies taken from organs are often classed as tissue.
Small tissue samples set into blocks made from paraffin wax. The blocks are sliced into very thin layers and stained with a special dye to be examined under a microscope.
Science dealing with poisonous materials and their adverse effect on living organisms.
A COPFS dedicated Victim Information and Advice service.