Corporate manslaughter — a brief update

The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 facilitates the prosecution of corporate entities where a death is caused by their gross breach of a duty of care and senior management failings are a substantial element of the breach.

The offence requires the following elements to be proved against the defendant organisation:

  • the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death;
  • the death is the result of a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed to that person; and
  • the way in which the senior management managed or organised the organisation’s activities is a substantial element of the breach.

Although there have been relatively few prosecutions to date, the wide sentencing powers, which include an unlimited fine and orders to make compensation, remedy faults or publicise the breach, can have a significant impact on a defendant’s finances and reputation…

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