The aim of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CM & CH Act 2007) is to improve the protection of employees and the public from management failures by holding companies responsible and allowing companies rather than individuals to be punished. It is now much easier to prosecute companies when a senior management failure has resulted in death.
In owner managed businesses an individual could be at risk of prosecution if it can be determined that they had an active part in the day to day running of the business. Our aims are to vigorously defend companies accused of any such wrongdoing. If you have been accused of corporate manslaughter, it is essential that you instruct an experienced firm of solicitors.
If an alleged offence occurred before 6 April 2008, the pre-existing common law will apply. Therefore, the Act will only apply to conduct or harm, leading to the death, occurring on or after 6 April.
An organisation to which section 1 applies is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised –
- causes a person’s death; and
- amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.
An organisation is guilty of an offence only if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach referred to in subsection (1).
This offence is indictable only and on conviction the judge may impose an unlimited fine (section 1(6)).
Section 18 states that an individual cannot be indicted for aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of this offence. However an individual may still be prosecuted for common law gross negligence 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.