HM Insights

New Death Certificate system comes into force in Scotland

Scotland has become the first country in the UK to implement legislation, the Death Certification Act, to improve the quality and accuracy in the recording of deaths.

Under the new legislation, relatives now have the right to request an independent review of the information provided on the Death Certificate, should they have any concerns. This Act follows recommendations made in the wake of the conviction of GP and serial killer Dr Harold Shipman, who police believed murdered more than 200 of his patients.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland will carry out requested reviews and will also be carrying out random checks on Death Certificates to ensure that information is recorded correctly. In our experience, this can unfortunately lead to a slight delay in the release of the Death Certificates to family members. However, government officials hope that the random checks ensure that the death certification process is rigorous.

Cremation form fees abolished

The Death Certification Act will also remove the requirement for families to pay £170 for cremation paperwork. It is hoped that this will save bereaved families around £5.5million annually.

For more information see the BBC website

If you would like to speak to a member of our team on any legal issues which arise when coping with a bereavement, please call 0141 227 9662.

Find out more about how Harper Macleod's specialists can help you here.