Posted by: David Cant | August 1, 2008

Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007

New offense called “corporate manslaughter” in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and “corporate homicide” in Scotland has been created for prosecuting companies and other organizations where there has been a gross failing, throughout the organization, in the management of health and safety with fatal consequences.

The offense can be brought against a company or other unincorporated organization where the death of a person arises from the way that an organization has managed it”s activities, and amounts to a gross breach of duty to take reasonable care for that person”s safety, and will face an unlimited fine.

The prosecution of a corporate body for manslaughter by gross negligence is not new, but to secure a conviction under S-37 of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASWA), the prosecutor had to demonstrate a failure on the part of the organization”s “controlling mind” where a common law duty was owed to a person which resulted in death.

Senior management as defined by the Act will be the target for the new offense as those persons who play a significant role in decisions made in how an organization is managed. The personal liability of senior managers will remain unchanged under HASWA as a recent case of a managing director and sole shareholder of a company who was jailed for nine months and the company with an £11m turnover was fined £75,000 and was ordered to pay £89,000 costs.

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