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Corporate Manslaughter. Patrick Mullarkey Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors Belfast. Purpose of the talk . Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 - 6th April 2008 Government’s Motivation Progress of Legislation Statutory Provision ( What it actually says) Penalties

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corporate manslaughter

Corporate Manslaughter

Patrick Mullarkey

Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors

Belfast

purpose of the talk
Purpose of the talk
  • Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 - 6th April 2008
  • Government’s Motivation
  • Progress of Legislation
  • Statutory Provision ( What it actually says)
  • Penalties
  • Questions
background
Background
  • More people killed at work than in warfare
  • 40K UK(GB&NI) deaths between 1966-2006
  • Average of 400 deaths per annum
  • Only 34 prosecutions, 7 convictions for previous offence
  • That’s 0.000175% of a success rate
background4
Background
  • Series of high profile disasters stirred Government action
  • Zeebrugge, Bradford City, Hillsborough, Kings Cross, Marchioness
  • Difficulties in securing conviction related to legal test
  • Need a “guilty” or “controlling” mind
background5
Background
  • “Controlling mind” test inadequate to deal with large corporate body
  • Directors/Management remote
  • Labour manifesto commitment
  • Law Commission report in 1996, consultation 2000, draft Bill 2005
  • Bill received Royal Assent 27th July 2007
the law
The Law
  • The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
  • Section 1 of the Act sets out the details of the offence
  • Various elements to the offence; gross, breach of duty, activities managed/organised, senior management
  • Consider those separately
scope of the legislation
Scope of the Legislation
  • Act applies to Companies, Public Bodies and even Partnerships
  • Public Bodies encompass NHS organisations
  • No Crown Immunity
  • Exemptions, total and partial, provided but unlikely to assist managers
when will conviction occur
When will Conviction occur?
  • Reserved for the most serious cases
  • Management systems scrutinised for breach
  • Senior management identified by Act
  • Judges likely to apply inclusive definition
  • Delegation no defence, indeed could aggravate the offence
  • Management activities must be at fault
breach of duty
Breach of Duty
  • Common law concept
  • Duty of Care owed as employer, occupier, provider of services
  • eg safe place of work , safe plant and equipment, reasonable medical care etc
  • Failure to comply leads to breach.
gross
“Gross”
  • Not simple negligence
  • Fall so far below what could reasonably be expected
  • Minor errors not enough
  • Conduct that demonstrates disregard for life and safety as to deserve criminal sanction
penalties and sanctions
Penalties and Sanctions
  • Unlimited fine
  • Remedial Order - Prosecution can ask for same to remedy a dangerous practice
  • Publicity Order - Not yet in place, guidance and guidelines being settled. Expected in Autumn 2008