Select Page

The Ins-and-Outs of Corporate Manslaughter

Nov 23 2022 | Criminal Law

by Jamie Pellman

by Jamie Pellman

Head of Criminal Defence

In this article

What is the difference between corporate manslaughter and gross negligence?

Corporate manslaughter focuses on the precautions set up by senior management to ensure that the business provides an adequate duty of care for all.

On the other hand, gross negligence relates directly to the individual. For example, if an accident occurs on a building site, the person responsible is liable if they had prior safety training yet chose to ignore it.

Because of these differences, it’s common for a gross negligence case to try and instead prove corporate manslaughter. For example, the builder at fault for the accident on site may try to prove that they did not receive adequate training from their superiors.

What is duty of care?

Corporate manslaughter focuses on the precautions set up by senior management so ensure that the business provides an adequate duty of care for all.

On the other hand, gross negligence relates directly to the individual. For example, if an accident occurs on a building site, the person responsible is liable if they had prior safety training yet chose to ignore it.

Because of these differences, it’s common for a gross negligence case to try and instead prove corporate manslaughter. For example, the builder at fault for the accident on site may try to prove that they did not receive adequate training from their superiors.

When was the Corporate Manslaughter Act introduced?

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act came into effect in 2007. The act ensures that businesses can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter.

However, there has been much scrutiny over how effective this act has been. Since its introduction, there have been fewer than 25 businesses to face a corporate manslaughter charge.

Many question the legislation and the complexity of following a prosecution through. As you must prove that the business’ actions fell far below reasonable expectations, you can argue what ‘reasonable’ actually means within the context.

Notable examples.

Herald of Free Enterpise Ferry Calamity Example of corporate manslaughter
Depiction of Southall Rail Disaster Example of coporate manslaughter
Grenfell Tower Fire Example of corporate manslaughter

Fine ranges

Size of organisation Fine range
Very large organisation
(Turnover greatly exceeding £50 million)
Will need to find a range that accurately reflects the turnover of company
Large organisation
(Turnover exceeds £50 million)
Ranging from £3 million to £20 million
Medium organisation
(Between £10 million to £50 million turnover)
Ranging from £1.2 million £7.5 million
Small organisation
(Between £2 million to £10 million turnover)
Ranging from £350,000 to £2.8 million
Micro organisation
(Up to £2 million turnover)
Ranging from £180,000 to £800,000

Aggravating Factors:

  • Previous convictions
  • Cost-cutting at the expense of safety
  • Concealment of illegal or unsafe activities
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Poor health and safety track record
  • Breach of any court order

Mitigating Factors:

  • No prior convictions
  • Evidence of steps taken to remedy the issue
  • Good health and safety track record
  • High level of cooperation
  • Other events contributing to death
  • Effective procedures now in place

Looking to book a consultation?

Show/Hide Comments (0 comments)
L

Other related articles.

Be the first to hear the latest from us.

All our latest updates direct from us, written by us. No spam, no passing your details on, just pure, unadulterated news.

And if you’ve heard enough from us, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Like it, share it.

If you found the contents of this blog useful, please feel free to share it on social media. Sharing our article helps others in need find the same information.

Be the first to hear the latest from us.

All our latest updates direct from us, written by us. No spam, no passing your details on, just pure, unadulterated news.

And if you’ve heard enough from us, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Like it, share it.

If you found the contents of this blog useful, please feel free to share it on social media. Sharing our article helps others in need find the same information.