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Corporate Manslaughter

 

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Overview

The above video provides a summary of the key elements of corporate manslaughter that staff need to be aware of.

It supplements the University's Safety Handbook, a link to which is on this page and at the end of the video.

Please note the change to the sentencing guidelines and penalties effective from 1 February 2016, and see the briefing note on corporate manslaughter sentencing guidelines.

Content and Aims

 

Focus

This Podbriefing is delivered by Kevin Bridges, a practising lawyer who specialises in this area of the law and who represented the first company to be charged with corporate manslaughter. Alongside this, a court room scenario depicts the prosecution of the fictional Oldtown University in connection with the death of a student in one of the university's laboratories.

 

Liability for Organisations and Individuals

Although only organisations can be liable for corporate manslaughter, individuals are often prosecuted for other criminal offences alongside them, as demonstrated by the real-life case examples that are provided below.

 

The Court Room Scenario

During the scenario, three members of staff at Oldtown University are present in court: Dr Slack, Mr Blindeye and Professor Stoic. Each member of staff fails to follow safety procedures and has a lax attitude towards health and safety in the workplace. Their collective failures then lead to the fatality.

Furthermore, while the characters in the scenario are fictional, the facts are taken from a real case. 

 

Relevant Cases


 

Cotswold General

Cotswold General (Holdings) Ltd were fined £385,000 in February 2011 when an employee died taking soil samples when an unsupported deep trench collapsed on him.

The director of the company was initially prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter, but was later judged too ill to stand trial.

Cotswold were represented by Kevin Bridges, the legal expert featured in this Podbriefing. 

Source for the news article on the case can be found here.

Lion Steel

Lion Steel Equipment Ltd were fined £480,000 in July 2012 when an employee died falling 40 foot through the roof of the company's factory.

Three company directors were also charged individually with manslaughter by gross negligence. However, they were later acquitted.

Source for the news article on the case can be found here.


56 prosecutions for corporate manslaughter are currently on-going and 119 cases have been opened since 2009.

Article on corporate manslaughter statistics 

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