Corporate manslaughter

The legal framework for prosecutions for corporate manslaughter is set out in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA 2007).

This section provides a review of the key provisions of CMCHA 2007, together with case studies of previous prosecutions and recommendations as to what organisations can do to mitigate any risk of being charged with an offence.

This section is important for those operating in the construction industry. As set out in a report issued by the HSE, approximately one-fifth of all fatalities in the workplace in 2018/2019 occurred in the construction industry.

This relatively high proportion of overall fatalities is reflected in the number of cases where convictions have been secured against building contractors on manslaughter charges.

In broad outline, for an organisation to be guilty of an offence under the CMCHA 2007 the way in which it has managed or organised its activities must cause a person's death and amount to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.

Health and safety must be taken seriously and statutory compliance achieved to protect workers and contractors at all levels.

The fines that can be levied if an organisation is found guilty of an offence under CMCHA 2007 are substantial, ranging from £180,000 to £20 million.

This section is maintained by Ryan Turner of Lamb Chambers and John Wallace of Ridgemont Solicitors.