Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

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The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007[1]
Long title An Act to create a new offence that, in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, is to be called corporate manslaughter and, in Scotland, is to be called corporate homicide; and to make provision in connection with that offence.
Citation 2007 c. 19
Introduced by Home Secretary John Reid, July 20, 2006
Territorial extent England and Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland
Royal Assent 26 July 2007
Commencement 6 April 2008
Other legislation
Amended by
Repealed by
Relates to
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (c. 19) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that seeks to broaden the law on corporate manslaughter in the United Kingdom. The Act created a new offence respectively named corporate manslaughter in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and corporate homicide in Scotland.

The Act received the royal assent on 26 July 2007 and came into force on 6 April 2008.[2]


In English law, a corporation is a juristic person and is capable of committing, and being convicted of and sentenced for, a criminal offence.[3] However, some conceptual difficulty lies in fixing a corporation with the appropriate mens rea.[4] Before the Act, a corporation could only be convicted of manslaughter if a single employee of the company committed all the elements of the offence and was of sufficient seniority to be seen as embodying the "mind" of the corporation.[5][6] The practical consequence of this was that such convictions were rare and there was public discontent where it was perceived that culpable corporations had escaped censure and punishment.[4]

A Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill was introduced to the House of Commons by Home Secretary John Reid on 20 July 2006.[7]

The Act[edit]

The offence[edit]

The Act attempts to align the offence of corporate killing north and south of the border. An indictable offence[8] is committed if the way in which an organisation's activities are managed or organised:[9]

  • Causes a person's death; and
  • Amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased;

— and the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach.[10] Prosecution in England or Wales requires the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and in Northern Ireland, the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland[11] and no natural person can be charged with aiding and abetting the offence.[12] The common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter, as it applies to corporations, is abolished.[13]

Organisations liable[edit]

The offence applies to:[14]

Relevant duty of care[edit]

A relevant duty of care is one of several duties of care owed by the organisation under the law of negligence and is a question of law for the judge.[17] Various government policy decisions;[18] policing,[19] military[20] and child protection[21] activities; and emergency responses[22] are excluded.

There are particular duties of care owed to persons in custody (s. 2(1)(d)) and, owing to the sensitivity and difficulty of such duties, implementation of this section was delayed. The Ministry of Justice published a report on progress towards implementation in July 2008.[23]

Gross breach[edit]

A breach of a duty of care by an organisation is a gross breach if the alleged conduct amounts to a breach of that duty that falls far below what can reasonably be expected of the organisation in the circumstances.[24] The jury must consider whether the evidence shows that the organisation failed to comply with any health and safety legislation that relates to the alleged breach, and if so:[25]

  • How serious that failure was; and
  • How much of a risk of death it posed.

The jury may also:[25]

  • Consider the extent to which the evidence shows that there were attitudes, policies, systems or accepted practices within the organisation that were likely to have encouraged the failure, or to have produced tolerance of it; and
  • Have regard to any health and safety guidance that relates to the alleged breach.

Senior management[edit]

Senior management means the persons who play significant roles in:[26]

  • The making of decisions about how the whole or a substantial part of its activities are to be managed or organised; or
  • The actual managing or organising of the whole or a substantial part of those activities.


On conviction a corporation may be ordered to remedy any breach,[27] or to publicise its failures,[28] or be given an unlimited fine.[8] Sentencing guidelines are expected in autumn 2008[2] but on 15 November 2007, the Sentencing Guidelines Council issued a consultative document[29] recommending a starting point of a fine of 5% of company turnover for a first offence with a not guilty plea, rising to 10% of turnover.[30]


Convictions under the Act
Company name Conviction date Victim's name Cause of death Fine
Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings[31] 15 February 2011 Alex Wright Geologic trial pit collapse. £385,000
JMW Farm Ltd[32] 8 May 2012 Robert Wilson Large metal bin fell off forklift and onto victim. £187,500
Lion Steel Ltd[33] 3 July 2012 Steven Berry Fall through a factory roof. £480,000
J Murray and Sons[34] 7 October 2013 Norman Porter Pulled into an animal feed mixing machine. £100,000
Princes Sporting Club[35] 22 November 2013 Mari-Simon Cronje Eleven-year-old struck by speedboat. £135,000
Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd[36] 2 December 2013 Malcolm Hinton Crushed attempting to repair a street-sweeping truck. £8,000
Cavendish Masonry Ltd[37] 22 May 2014 David Evans Builder crushed by a two-ton block of limestone. £150,000
Sterecycle (Rotherham) Ltd[38] 7 November 2014 Michael Whinfrey Plant explosion. £500,000
A Diamond and Son (Timber) Ltd[39] 17 December 2014 Peter Lennon Crushed while carrying out machinery maintenance. £75,000
Peter Mawson Ltd[40] 19 December 2014 Jason Pennington Fell through a skylight while working on a roof. £200,000
Pyranha Mouldings Ltd[41] 12 January 2015 Alan Catterall Accidentally locked inside industrial oven. £200,000
Nicole Enterprises[42] 12 March 2015 Thomas Houston Crushed by a static caravan. Not yet sentenced.
Kings Scaffolding[43] 28 April 2015 Adrian Smith Fell through a skylight. Not yet sentenced.
Huntley Mount Engineering Ltd[44] 14 July 2015 Cameron Minshull Sixteen-year-old apprentice became entangled on a lathe. £150,000
CAV Aerospace Ltd[45] 24 July 2015 Paul Bowers Crushed by aircraft components. £600,000
Linley Development Ltd[46] 7 September 2015 Gareth Jones Crushed by wall collapse while excavating. £200,000[47]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 29 of this Act.
  2. ^ a b "Understanding the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007" (pdf). Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  3. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, s. 5
  4. ^ a b Herring (2004) p. 720
  5. ^ Tesco Supermarkets Ltd v. Nattrass [1972] AC 153
  6. ^ Attorney General's Reference (No. 2 of 1999) [2000] QB 796, CA
  7. ^ "History of passage through Parliament". Parliament of the UK. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  8. ^ a b S. 1(6)
  9. ^ S. 1(1)
  10. ^ s 1(3)
  11. ^ s 17
  12. ^ S. 18
  13. ^ S. 20
  14. ^ S. 1(2)
  15. ^ S. 14
  16. ^ Sch. 1, s. 11
  17. ^ S. 2
  18. ^ S.3
  19. ^ S. 4, s. 13
  20. ^ S. 5, s. 12
  21. ^ S. 6
  22. ^ S. 7
  23. ^ "Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act: custody provisions". Ministry of Justice. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  24. ^ S. 1(4)(b)
  25. ^ a b S. 8
  26. ^ S. 1(4)(c)
  27. ^ S. 9
  28. ^ S. 10
  29. ^ "Consultation Paper on Sentencing for Corporate Manslaughter" (PDF). Sentencing Guidelines Council. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  30. ^ "Companies face record corporate manslaughter fines". Solicitors' Journal. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  31. ^ "Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings convicted of first corporate manslaughter charge under new Act". CPS. 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  32. ^ "Court sets out sentencing guidance for the offence of corporate manslaughter". Northern Ireland Courts. 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  33. ^ "Second ever conviction for corporate manslaughter". CPS. 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  34. ^ "Fourth statutory corporate manslaughter conviction – are trends emerging?". Kingsley Napley. 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  35. ^ "London sports club sentenced for corporate manslaughter over banana boat ride". CPS. 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  36. ^ "Corporate manslaughter convictions now up to six". RPC. 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  37. ^ "'We miss his infectious laugh': Grief of builder's family as masonry firm is convicted of corporate manslaughter after he was crushed to death while renovating £20m home of former Pizza Express boss". Daily Mail. 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  38. ^ "Rotherham firm found guilty of corporate manslaughter". The Star. 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  39. ^ "Coleraine firm accepts guilt over worker’s ‘terrible and tragic’ death". News Letter. 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  40. ^ "Firm admits to failures which led to fatal Lindal plunge". North-West Evening Mail. 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  41. ^ "Family welcome corporate manslaughter conviction after Merseyside dad died in industrial oven". Liverpool Echo. 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  42. ^ "Alan Milne admits manslaughter and other charges on behalf of one of his companies". BBC. 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 
  43. ^ "Scaffolding firm admits responsibility for death of Liverpool dad who fell while fixing roof". Liverpool Echo. 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  44. ^ "Company and its senior management sentenced following death of 16 year old apprentice". CPS. 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  45. ^ "CAV Aerospace fined £600K over worker Paul Bowers crush death". BBC. 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  46. ^ "St Albans wall collapse death: Executives admit corporate manslaughter". BBC. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  47. ^ "Corporate manslaughter case concluded". Philip Poynter Construction Safety. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-26. 


  • Clarkson, C. M. V. (1998). "Corporate culpability". Web Journal of Current Legal Issues 2. 
  • Gobert, J. (2002). "Corporate killings at home and abroad - reflections on the government's proposals". Law Quarterly Review 118: 72. 
  • Herring, J. (2004). Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. Chapter 13. ISBN 0-19-876578-9. 
  • Matthews, R. (2008). Blackstone's Guide to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-920321-0. 
  • Ministry of Justice (2007). "Guidance on the Act". Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  • Sullivan, G. R. (2001). "Corporate killing - some government proposals". Criminal Law Review: 31. 

External links[edit]