Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
|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, 20 July 2006|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland|
|Royal assent||26 July 2007|
|Commencement||6 April 2008|
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|Text of statute as originally enacted|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.
In the United Kingdom, a corporation is considered a juristic person and can be capable of committing, being convicted of and sentenced for, a criminal offence. However, some conceptual difficulty lies in fixing a corporation with the appropriate mens rea. 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. 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.
The Act attempts to align the offence of corporate killing north and south of the border. An indictable offence is committed if the way in which an organisation's activities are managed or organised:
- 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. 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 and no natural person can be charged with aiding and abetting the offence. The common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter, as it applies to corporations, is abolished.
The offence applies to:
- Partnerships, trade unions and employers' associations, that are themselves employers.
- Police forces;
- Various, but not all, government departments;
Relevant duty of care
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. Various government policy decisions; policing, military and child protection activities; and emergency responses 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.
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. 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:
- How serious that failure was; and
- How much of a risk of death it posed.
The jury may also:
- 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 means the persons who play significant roles in:
- 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, or to publicise its failures, or be given an unlimited fine. The Sentencing Guidelines Council issued a steps based definitive guideline, effective from 1 February 2016, for sentencing the offence of corporate manslaughter. The recommendations of the guideline are based on the size and turnover of the organisations with a starting fine of £300,000 and a no limit maximum. If an individual is also found liable for the offence of manslaughter, it can be prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 ruled by the same sentencing guideline.
|Company name||Conviction date||Victim's name||Cause of death||Fine (plus costs)|
|1||Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings||15 February 2011||Alex Wright||Geologic trial pit collapse.||£385,000|
|2||JMW Farm Ltd||8 May 2012||Robert Wilson||Large metal bin fell off forklift and onto victim.||£187,500|
|3||Lion Steel Ltd||3 July 2012||Steven Berry||Fall through a factory roof.||£480,000|
|4||J Murray and Sons||7 October 2013||Norman Porter||Pulled into an animal feed mixing machine.||£100,000|
|5||Princes Sporting Club||22 November 2013||Mari-Simon Cronje||Eleven-year-old struck by speedboat.||£135,000|
|6||Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd||2 December 2013||Malcolm Hinton||Crushed attempting to repair a street-sweeping truck.||£8,000|
|7||Cavendish Masonry Ltd||22 May 2014||David Evans||Builder crushed by a two-ton block of limestone.||£150,000|
|8||Sterecycle (Rotherham) Ltd||7 November 2014||Michael Whinfrey||Plant explosion.||£500,000|
|9||A Diamond and Son (Timber) Ltd||17 December 2014||Peter Lennon||Crushed while carrying out machinery maintenance.||£75,000|
|10||Peter Mawson Ltd||19 December 2014||Jason Pennington||Fell through a skylight while working on a roof.||£200,000|
|11||Pyranha Mouldings Ltd||12 January 2015||Alan Catterall||Accidentally locked inside industrial oven.||£200,000|
|12||Nicole Enterprises||12 March 2015||Thomas Houston||Crushed by a static caravan.||Not yet sentenced|
|13||Kings Scaffolding||28 April 2015||Adrian Smith||Fell through a skylight.||£300,000|
|14||Huntley Mount Engineering Ltd||14 July 2015||Cameron Minshull||Sixteen-year-old apprentice became entangled on a lathe.||£150,000|
|15||CAV Aerospace Ltd||24 July 2015||Paul Bowers||Crushed by aircraft components.||£600,000|
|16||Linley Development Ltd||7 September 2015||Gareth Jones||Crushed by wall collapse while excavating.||£200,000|
|17||Cheshire Gates and Automation Ltd||7 September 2015||Semelia Campbell||Trapped in a faulty electric gate||£50,000|
|18||Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd||22 December 2015||Lindsay Easton||Crane crashed into an earth bank.||£700,000|
|19||Sherwood Rise Ltd||February 2016||Ivy Atkin||Died in a care home.||£300,000|
|20||Monavon Construction Ltd||June 2016||Gavin Brewer and Stuart Meads||Fell through roadside hoarding||£500,000|
|21||Bilston Skips Ltd||August 2016||Jagpal Singh||Fell from the top of a skip||£600,000|
|22||SR and JR Brown Ltd||March 2017||Benjamin Edge||Roof fall||£300,000|
|23||Koseoglu Metalworks Ltd||May 2017||Nikolai Valkov||Roof fall||£300,000|
|24||Odzil Investments Ltd||May 2017||Nikolai Valkov||Roof fall||£500,000|
|25||Martinisation London Ltd||May 2017||Tomasz Procko and Kyrol Szymanski||Lifting operations at height||£1,200,000|
|26||Master Construction Products (Skips) Ltd||November 2017||Safi Qais Khan||Crushed by machinery||£255,000|
- The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 29 of this Act.
- "Understanding the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007" (PDF). Ministry of Justice. Archived from the original (pdf) on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
- Interpretation Act 1978, s. 5
- Herring (2004) p. 720
- Tesco Supermarkets Ltd v. Nattrass  AC 153
- Attorney General's Reference (No. 2 of 1999)  QB 796, CA
- "History of passage through Parliament". Parliament of the UK. 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
- S. 1(6)
- S. 1(1)
- s 1(3)
- s 17
- S. 18
- S. 20
- S. 1(2)
- S. 14
- Sch. 1, s. 11
- S. 2
- S. 4, s. 13
- S. 5, s. 12
- S. 6
- S. 7
- "Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act: custody provisions". Ministry of Justice. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- S. 1(4)(b)
- S. 8
- S. 1(4)(c)
- S. 9
- S. 10
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- "Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide: A Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Government's Bill" (PDF). Home Office. 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
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- 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 17 October 2007.
- Sullivan, G. R. (2001). "Corporate killing - some government proposals". Criminal Law Review: 31.
- The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, as amended from the National Archives.
- The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, as originally enacted from the National Archives.
- Explanatory notes to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.