UK Law governing the investigation of aviation-accidents is being updated with new regulation coming into force on the 9th April.
Notable points include:
• The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (“the AAIB”) (part of the Department for Tranport) continues to be designated as the safety investigation authority for the United Kingdom.
• The sole objective of a safety investigation is the prevention of accidents and incidents, without the apportionment of blame or liability.
• The Chief Inspector is empowered to open a safety investigation where an accident or serious incident occurs in or over a country or territory other than the United Kingdom or any other State which is party to the Chicago Convention. It applies where the accident or serious incident involves an aircraft in respect of which the United Kingdom is the State of Registry, the State of the Operator, the State of Design or the State of Manufacture and where an investigation is not conducted by another State.
• There is provision for the release of evidence by the AAIB following the completion of a safety investigation and for the recovery of the reasonable costs of destruction or disposal of property where the owner fails to collect it.
• The investigator-in-charge must provide any person whose reputation could be adversely affected by a safety investigation report with particulars of any proposed analysis of facts and conclusions as to the circumstances and causes of the accident or incident prior to the publication of the report, and to permit that person to make written representations regarding that proposed analysis. Following the receipt of such representations, the investigator-in-charge must make such changes to the report as the investigator thinks fit.
• The Chief Inspector may reopen a safety investigation where new and significant evidence becomes available.