Corporate Manslaughter Defence Solicitors
Accidents in the workplace that result in a fatality can, in certain circumstances result in a criminal prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. A prosecution under this Act is made against an organisation, such as a Limited Company and can result in financial penalties ranging from £180,000 up to £20 million. The Court also has power to make ancillary orders including Remedial Orders and Publicity Orders.
An investigation of Corporate Manslaughter will assess the involvement of Company Directors, Senior Managers, the Health and Safety Policies and work-based practices to assess whether failings by the company contributed towards the death.
This offence only relates to corporate liability and does not apply to Company Directors or Senior Managers working within the company or organisation. The focus of this prosecution is on the corporate body itself, rather than individuals. However, if during the investigation, an individual is found to have been grossly negligent, they could also face prosecution for separate health and safety offences, or Gross Negligence Manslaughter.
The Police will head the investigation in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to establish whether a case for Corporate Manslaughter is present. In certain circumstances, the police can arrest suspects as part of their investigation or may call key individuals to attend a Voluntary Police Interview under Caution. The Health and Safety Executive has the powers of entry and will also have specialist industry knowledge at their disposal.
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What Is Corporate Manslaughter?
It is a Criminal Prosecution which only applies to certain organisations, as defined within the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. A prosecution is brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against private bodies such as limited companies and partnerships. Public bodies such as local authorities and NHS Trusts can also face prosecution, along with specified government departments and police forces. Individuals cannot be prosecuted for this offence, whether as an accessory or otherwise. A prosecution can be brought if there is evidence of a ‘gross breach’ of a relevant duty of care.
How We Can Assist
A regulatory prosecution involving a fatality is serious, and expert legal advice should be sought as soon as possible. Call our experienced Health and Safety Lawyers on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form for further details on the cost of legal representation and how we can assist.
Whether legal representation is required at a PACE Interview Under Caution or representation at Court, our lawyers have the legal skill and expertise to provide guidance, advice and reassurance so that our clients obtain the best possible outcome.
We have advised and represented organisations with:
- PACE Interviews Under Caution
- Enforcement Notices
- Communicating with the Police / Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- On Site Investigations
- Dealing with Media Coverage
- Disclosure Requests
- Representation at Inquests
- Representation at Court
The Offence of Corporate Manslaughter
The offence is contained within Section 1 of the Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which states as follows:
S.1(1) An organisation to which this section 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.
S.1(3) An organisation is guilty of an offence under this section 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).
Elements of the Offence
For the prosecution to secure a conviction, it will need to prove the following:
- the defendant is a qualifying organisation;
- the organisation owed a relevant duty of care to the deceased;
- there was a gross breach of that duty by the organisation;
- the way in which its activities were managed or organised by its senior management was a substantial element in the breach; and
- the gross breach of the organisation’s duty caused or contributed towards the death
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