Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide act 2007

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force on the 6 April 2008. It creates an offence of corporate manslaughter and the offence may be committed by companies, partnerships, limited liability partnerships and a number of public bodies.

Your organisation could commit the offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management gives rise to a fatality and amounts to a gross breach of the duty of care which your organisation owes to the victim. The duty of care is the general duty of care owed under the law of negligence and there will have been a gross breach when management fails to comply with relevant health and safety legislation.

Penalties will include :

  • Remedial orders – to remedy the defect in the organisation causing the breach of duty of care
  • Publicity orders – your organisation can be required to publicise the fact of its conviction
  • An Unlimited fine

How do you lessen the risk of a prosecution?

  • If you employ five or more people you must have a health and safety policy which must be compliant with current health and safety legislation.
  • Set up and have your Health and Safety Committee meet to review compliance or designate someone at senior management level to be responsible for this.
  • Create a protocol to be followed following an accident at work, including immediate liaison with your insurers and the bringing in of solicitors.

What about the liability of individuals within your business?

The offence of corporate manslaughter is in addition to the potential liability of individuals for breach of health and safety legislation or manslaughter by gross negligence. There is a real incentive, therefore, for individuals within your business to put in place proper management of health and safety.

For further advice call Nigel Pepper or Patrick Nelson on 01785 211411

Disclaimer

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)