CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER SOLICITORS & DIRECTOR LIABILITY FOR GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER
If a fatal accident has occurred within your business, this can represent an extremely difficult and challenging time for your business and employees, particularly if you are facing charges for the incident. At Draycott Browne, our specialist team of Corporate Manslaughter Solicitors are able to provide you with specialist advice and are here to help minimise stress during the investigations and throughout any subsequent proceedings.
The consequences of corporate manslaughter can be serious for both individuals and businesses alike. Therefore, we advise any business facing changes of corporate manslaughter to seek legal advice from expert business crime solicitors as soon as possible.
Cases such as these can be extremely complex, and should only be faced with an experienced team of experts behind you. Our solicitors, specialising in corporate manslaughter, will draw on their extensive knowledge and expertise in this area to assess the situation, provide you with expert advice and insights, and utilise all the information to compile a strong defence.
We have a proven track record in helping clients avoid prosecution so if you have had a fatality at work and are under investigation for corporate manslaughter, do not hesitate to seek legal advice from Draycott Browne. Call us today on +44 (0)161 266 7089.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our Corporate Manslaughter Defence Solicitors pride themselves on dedicating their time to provide clients with the best possible advice and representation. We will help you throughout the following processes:
- Receiving enforcement notices
- Attending interviews
- Responding to disclosure requests
- On-site investigations
- Inquests into the case
- Court proceedings
We will employ our significant technical expertise, not only to ensure you have the best defence possible, but also to provide advice and guidance of health and safety issues and your responsibilities as an employer. We can help you to ensure that your business is operating in compliance with the law to prevent further accidents or fatalities.
We have the experience and comprehensive knowledge to represent you and have a proven track record in this area. We will provide you with in-depth legal advice and take great pride in our dedication to working towards a successful conclusion for all our clients. We will work diligently on your behalf to secure the best result.
WHAT IS CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER?
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 established a new offence that would hold companies responsible for fatalities at work. This is known as corporate manslaughter.
A fatality at work is considered corporate manslaughter when an individual has died due to an accident that could have been prevented, provided the correct health and safety features were put in place by management.
Cases of corporate manslaughter are investigated by the police in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Investigations will look closely at senior management and whether a lack of health and safety measures contributed to the fatality.
Interviews will be carried out and witness statements taken, to try and determine how well health and safety procedures have been implemented within your company and whether the fatality was as a result of any negligence or failings. Investigations will often focus on senior management and whether the company’s policies, or lack of them, were a contributory factor.
There is also the risk of individual prosecution, for example in cases of owner managed companies, where the defendant is involved in the daily running of the business.
Who can commit Corporate Manslaughter?
The law that oversees Corporate Manslaughter applies to all companies and corporations, both public and private.
While individuals, such as owners and managers, may face prosecution for offences related to the accident, Corporate Manslaughter will be only considered in the prosecution of the corporation. Individuals in charge of the health and safety at work may be charged with other offences, such as gross negligence manslaughter.
The legislation regarding director liability can be complex, and each case is unique. Additional charges against individuals could be considered when doing so is in the interest of the general public, and directors and officers are likely to be called as witnesses in a corporate manslaughter trial.
If you are the manager, director, or safety officer of a corporation or company that is being accused of corporate manslaughter, it is vital you contact expert Corporate Manslaughter Solicitors as soon as possible. With Draycott Browne, you can be sure your interests as an individual and businessperson are defended, and you reach the best outcome possible for your case.
How is Corporate Manslaughter proven?
In order for a corporation to be charged with corporate manslaughter, there are a number of conditions that must be fulfilled and proven by the prosecution. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 outlines clearly which circumstances may be considered Corporate Manslaughter. The prosecution must be able to prove that:
- The named defendant qualifies as an entity that can be charged with this offence
- The accused organisation owed a duty of care to the victim
- The organisation has committed a gross breach of the duty of care
- Senior management failures played a role in the breach
- The breach was a substantial or sole element of the fatal accident
Because of the complexity of the organisational structure of larger corporations, it can be difficult to clearly link the shortcomings of senior management to the accident. The way in which activities are managed or organised in smaller companies means that these links are easier to prove in those cases, but this is generally a challenge for the prosecution. Thanks to their extensive knowledge and experience in this field, our Corporate Manslaughter Solicitors can ensure your case reaches a favourable outcome for you and your business if you have been accused of an offence of corporate manslaughter.
What is a Gross Breach of Duty of Care?
When an organisation is being prosecuted for corporate manslaughter, it must be proven beyond doubt that a "gross breach" of the duty of care has been committed. This is a far stricter standard than other types of similar cases, and it's crucial to understand what exactly is considered to be a gross breach.
A duty of care is the legal obligation that a party owes to another to ensure their safety from harm. This relationship exists between many different entities and individuals, including an employer or manager and their employees.
The duties that are owed to employees within the context of corporate manslaughter are defined in Section 2(1) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. They include both obligations towards staff and employees, and in regards to goods and services provided to the general public. A judge will resolve any dispute regarding the duty of care the organisation owed to the victims.
For the negligent behaviour, and subsequent breach of the duty of care, to be deemed “gross”, it must meet specific requirements. Section 1(4)(b) defines a gross breach of duty of care as one that “falls far below what can reasonably be expected of the organisation in the circumstances”.
The failure to meet these standards needs to be caused by the decision of senior management in order for the case to be considered Corporate Manslaughter.
How can I avoid a Corporate Manslaughter sentence?
The offence of Corporate Manslaughter is always brought against the business rather than the people. Ensuring your organisation is not liable or at risk of committing corporate manslaughter is the best course of action you can take to protect your venture.
Some of the steps you can take to minimise the risks of committing corporate manslaughter can be:
- Writing, recording, and regularly updating a strict Health & Safety policy
- Make regular risk assessment for hazards to staff and customers
- Plan and monitor protective measures as necessary
- Provide qualified safety advice
- Discuss possible risks with your staff
- Have good policies for public liability insurance and employer's liability insurance, and be aware of the terms and limitations of both
Taking these steps to ensure the safety of your staff, your customers, and your business is crucial. While accidents can happen, taking every possible precaution can make the difference when they do.
PUNISHMENTS FOR CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER
Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter are designed to incentivise companies to ensure a safe working environment, As such, they can be very damaging, for both the company’s finances and reputation.
The penalties for corporate manslaughter are varied and wide-ranging. Possible punishments for organisations found guilty of corporate manslaughter include:
- Unlimited fines - typically ranging from £180,000 up to £20 million pounds depending on the size of the business and the level of culpability. Companies now also have to provide their financial information so that any fine received has a real and tangible impact. Fines often go so far as to put a company out of business to stress the need for safe working environments.
- A remedial order - requiring the company to address and fix the cause of the fatality
- A publicity order - requiring a company to publicise its conviction and its terms to customers, shareholders and the general public
These penalties can be given to an individual or a company as a whole. Due to the seriousness of the above penalties, it is imperative that you and your business seek advice and representation from experienced Corporate Manslaughter Solicitors as soon as possible.
CONTACT OUR CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER TEAM
Draycott Browne is highly regarded across the legal profession and recognised as experts across all matters of Corporate & White Collar crime. Our specialist Business Crime Solicitors possess a breadth of knowledge that is unrivalled in the industry and we take great pride in our dedication and professionalism.
We are relentless in the pursuit of achieving the best result possible for all of our clients and will continuously work hard on your behalf with an attention to detail and tenacity that is second to none.
Our Criminal Defence Lawyers have practised within the area of business crime since 1998, and their experience and expertise are guaranteed to give you the best possible chance of a successful case.
Draycott Browne is one of Manchester's top Criminal Law Firms. We regularly provide specialist criminal defence representation to clients in Manchester, Liverpool and London. We offer our services to clients throughout the whole of England and Wales.
When facing such serious consequences, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne. Call our business crime team today.