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Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

An organisation 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 to the deceased.

A 'gross breach' is one that falls far below what could reasonably be expected in the circumstances.

A substantial element of the breach must have been in the way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised by its senior management.

The common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter as it applies to corporations is abolished by the Act and it expressly prevents individuals from being found guilty of aiding the offence in any way.

 

April 2009: Crown Prosecution Service authorises first charge under new Act

Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd has become the first company to be charged with Corporate Manslaughter; the company is also charged under s.2 of the Health & Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

In addition, a Director of the company has been charged under s.37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act as well as being charged individually with Gross Negligence Manslaughter.

 

Comment:

Directors and Senior Officers of small to medium sized Companies beware, Gross Negligence Manslaughter is alive and kicking.