Employment Lawyers: The Corporate Manslaughter Act

On 6 April 2008 most of the long-awaited Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force. The Act establishes a new statutory offence of corporate manslaughter (corporate culpable homicide in Scotland).

An organisation is guilty of the offence if the way in which it manages or organises its activities causes a death and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care to the deceased. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were managed by the senior management of the organisation.

The new offence builds on the responsibilities that employers and organisations already owe to their employees and members of the general public, with regard to the premises they occupy and the activities they carry out.

Previously, an organisation could only be convicted of manslaughter if a ‘directing mind’ – i.e. a senior manager or director – was also personally liable. However, this did not reflect the reality of the way decisions are made in large organisations and there were very few prosecutions as a result. The new offence is concerned with the corporate liability of the organisation itself, allowing this to be assessed on a wider basis and providing greater accountability for serious management failings across the organisation. It will continue to be possible to bring prosecutions for gross negligence manslaughter against individuals, where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

When determining whether an organisation is guilty of the new offence of corporate manslaughter, the courts will look at management systems and practices across the organisation and whether an adequate standard of care was applied to the fatal activity. Juries will be required to consider the extent to which an organisation was in breach of its health and safety requirements and how serious those failings were. They will be able to consider the culture that exists within an organisation regarding health and safety issues. Lax management attitudes that result in a lower standard of care than could reasonably be expected will be punished.

An organisation convicted of the new offence may receive:

Business Services News


Read Next

Testimonials


What people say

"We shall, no doubt, be engaging you again soon"

"The matter was concluded very successfully and I’d like to thank John and Wilson again for their helpful and highly professional work earlier this year."

Alex Bailey, Trichromic LLP'

"Great Source of Support"

"You have essentially achieved what we had set out to do. Thank you for all of your assistance in this matter. Throughout this ordeal, you have been a great source of support."

Mary Anne Poutanen, Canada

"I could not have chosen a better firm to represent me."

"You provided the key essentials (and more) for client satisfaction. I am extremely pleased with the services provided by your company and the legal team provided for me. To also turnaround my situation making it a positive outcome, I could not have chosen a better firm to represent me."

Marvyn Smith, London

"I would recomend this service to anyone who has a legal matter"

"I'm so glad I had this advice before my CMD. I was very much prepared and think my company (whom I'm taking to a tribunal) were shocked at my knowledge. I would recommend this service to anyone who has a legal matter."

Jacqueline Stevenson, Bristol

"Can’t wait for another session!"

"John Spyrou kindly offered to provide our publishing firm with an update on libel and defamation law. Those who attended - a mix of veteran editors and those new to the world of journalism - all said how practical and useful they found the training – and now can’t wait for another session!"

Paul Snell, Redactive Media Group

"Highly recommended"

"Alana & Pinder Reaux’s level of service has been exceptionally high. Always keen to help out with the work in an efficient manner. Highly recommended."

Trading Point of Financial Instruments UK Ltd

"Fast and Reliable"

"Fast and reliable notary service for notarisation/legalisation of College reports for foreign office and embassies."

Student Services Department, CATS College London

"One step ahead of the opposition"

"'John Spyrou has the ability to pre-empty arguments and see issues before they arise, thereby allowing him to be one step ahead of the opposition’"

Christopher Bovey, Angelbird Technologies GmbH