Search for

Corporate killing fines could soar

26 Mar 08

The business sector could face record fines after the introduction of new corporate killing laws this month

by Richard Goslan

The business sector could face record fines after the introduction of new corporate killing laws this month.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 may lead to companies being fined as much as 10 per cent of annual turnover, 10 times the maximum fine currently for a health and safety breach. For example, Transco was fined £15m – less than 1 per cent of annual turnover – after being convicted on a charge arising from an explosion caused by a leaking gas main which killed four people.

Rona Jamieson, partner at the commercial law firm Paull & Williamsons, is an expert in health and safety law. She said: “I’m not convinced by the Government’s aims in introducing this law. It’s uncertain and I don’t think it adds much, if anything, to the existing legal framework. That uncertainty will make it difficult for those involved in managing businesses.”

The legislation will result in the possibility of dual prosecutions for deaths at work, under the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and under the corporate homicide legislation. In such circumstances, under the provisions of the 1974 Act, individual managers may be held personally liable for such deaths.

“Businesses will have to have the correct policies and procedures in place, with a generally high level of compliance which they will have to be able to demonstrate,” she said.

“Juries will also be able to take into account the general culture of the organisation, so companies will have to show high levels of leadership.”

Have your say





Page No: 11

Tags

Business | Rona Jamieson

Related Articles

Advertisement