Hatfield trial scheduled for January

After last week’s collapse of the corporate manslaughter and health and safety charges against Railtrack, prosecutors over the Hatfield rail crash now have four months to prepare their case against Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructures and a number of its former executives.

Richard Lissack QC and Gordon Bebb QC of Outer Temple Chambers are leading the Crown’s case for corporate manslaughter and health and safety breaches against Balfour Beatty and a number of its former executives.

In total, six firms – Davies Arnold Cooper, Davies Lavery, Edwards Duthie, Fisher Scoggins, Kennedys and Russell Jones & Walker – are acting for the defendants, instructing 12 silks and two senior juniors as lead counsel.

The case will go to trial in January 2005, with a pre-trial hearing set for the beginning of October.

Last week’s decision by Mr Justice Mackay to dismiss charges against Railtrack and three directors of the company led to fresh calls for a new law of corporate killing.

The government has responded by reasserting its plans to introduce a law first proposed in 1997 following the Southall train crash and hopes to publish a draft bill before the end of the session.