Balfour Beatty wins Hatfield crash appeal

The Court of Appeal has this morning (5 July) reduced the fine imposed on railway company Balfour Beatty for health and safety breaches leading to the Hatfield rail crash.

Temple firm Fisher Scoggins, instructing 5 Paper Buildings’ Jonathan Caplan QC, appealed on Balfour Beatty’s behalf against the £10m fine ordered by Mr Justice Mackay in October last year.

The criminal division of the Court of Appeal ruled that Balfour Beatty’s fine should be reduced to £7.5m to bring it closer to Railtrack’s £3.5m fine.

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, said: “The fine of £10 million on Balfour Beatty was severe. We consider that there is scope for a reduction in the interest of proportionality which will still do justice to the applicable principles and, in particular, to the victims of the Hatfield disaster.”

Outer Temple Chambers’ Richard Lissack QC led the prosecution, supported by Gordon Bebb QC of the same set.