Corporate manslaughter cases rise. Ensure your business attends awareness seminars and receives training, Protectus can support with legal requirements. The number of corporate manslaughter cases opened by the Crown Prosecution Service jumped by 40% last year as prosecutors stepped up their use of recent legislation that has produced just three convictions to date.
There were more than 60 new corporate manslaughter cases opened in 2012, up from 45 in 2011. There have been only a few convictions but there will more to follow as there are more than 30 other prosecutions yet to be heard.
Companies that cut health and safety expenditure to help survive the recession could leave themselves liable to prosecution in the event of an accident.
What should you do?
We have prepared a comprehensive overview of your legal responsibilities to Corporate Manslaughter and we are running a number of open seminars on the subject.
- Attend one of the seminar sessions: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/contact/
- Download our latest presentation material: http://cluster24748.website-staging.uk/protectus.co.uk/store/presentation-download/
- Whatever you do, ensure you are legally compliant and have assessed the risks in your business.
We are here to support, so please get in touch.
What is the Corporate Manslaughter Act?
Prior to 6 April 2008, it was possible for a corporate entity, such as a company, to be prosecuted for a wide range of criminal offences, including the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. However, in order for the company to be guilty of the offence, it was also necessary for a senior individual who could be said to embody the company (also known as a ‘controlling mind’) to be guilty of the offence. This was known as the identification principle.
On the 6 April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA) came into force throughout the UK. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, the new offence is called corporate manslaughter, and in Scotland it is called corporate homicide.
The provisions in the Act which relate to deaths which occur in custody will be brought into force on 1 September 2011. There is further information on these provisions later in this guidance.
Where any of the conduct or events alleged to constitute the offence occurred before 6 April 2008, the pre-existing common law will apply. Therefore, the Act will only apply to deaths where the conduct or harm, leading to the death, occurs on or after 6 April. Therefore if the breach of duty is alleged to have occurred before 6 April 2008, for example where a building has been defectively wired or a person has been exposed to asbestos many years ago, the common law applies.
Individuals will not be able to bring a private prosecution for the new offence without the consent of the DPP (section 17). This is unlike the position with allegations of gross negligence manslaughter against individuals where no such consent is required. See below for further information regarding consent.
The offence was created to provide a means of accountability for very serious management failings across the organisation. The original intention was to overcome the problems at common law of ‘identification’ and ‘aggregation’ (the prosecution could not aggregate the failings of a number of individuals) in relation to incorporated bodies. The offence is now considerably wider in scope than simply overcoming these two problems and it now includes liability for organisations which could never previously be prosecuted for manslaughter.
The new offence is intended to work in conjunction with other forms of accountability such as gross negligent manslaughter for individuals and other health and safety legislation.
If you believe that you have an Asbestos problem in your business or handle Asbestos then please contact us or visit our Presentation download pages for the latest guidance.
For Further information regarding prosecution please visit the Crown Prosecution Service, There website is http://www.cps.gov.uk.