Corporate Manslaughter

Corporate Manslaughter cases can be incredibly complex and require the comprehensive knowledge of skilled legal professionals to secure a successful outcome.

More about Corporate Manslaughter

Forbes has a significant amount of experience in working with corporate clients and can draw on knowledge from different departments to help with your defence. These types of cases often involve us assisting clients by putting together a bespoke, multi-disciplinary team of lawyers. Many of our lawyers in areas such as Criminal Law, Employment, Insurance, and Commercial are recognised leaders in their field.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act of 2007 aims to punish organisations that have failed in their duty of care. This area of law can be very complex and so it is important to take expert advice following a workplace fatality.

Forbes Solicitors have a large team of highly committed criminal lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with companies and their senior management team who face charges of corporate manslaughter.

We would always advise that we are involved in a case from the very outset. Our number should be one of the first calls you make following any fatality in the workplace. We do, however, accept referrals and take on cases at any stage of the process. Quite often a company will be represented by their usual company lawyers or in-house team at the investigative stage but then when Court proceedings are commenced, the case is referred to ourselves due to our vast experience of criminal litigation and our ability to draw on the expertise of our different departments.

What is Corporate Manslaughter?

What is Corporate Manslaughter?

If there is a death in the workplace, which was the result of negligence or breach of an organisation's duty of care, this will be investigated as corporate manslaughter.

Following such an event, the police will begin a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death and will work collaboratively with the Health and Safety Executive throughout the investigation. Investigations and prosecutions for corporate manslaughter brought by the Police and Crown Prosecution Service are lengthy, wide ranging and, for the organisations involved, time-consuming and stressful. At Forbes, we understand the strain that these investigations can bring and our team will be with you at each and every stage of the process to advise and guide you.

Who does the offence of Corporate Manslaughter apply to?

Who does the offence of Corporate Manslaughter apply to?

This act applies to all businesses, corporations, public bodies, police forces, partnerships or trade unions operating in the UK. To be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter the following need to be proven:

  • The organisation had a duty of care to the deceased;

  • There was a gross breach of that duty;

  • Management played a significant role in the breach;

  • The gross breach of duty of care caused or contributed to the death.

Under section 18 of the act, individuals cannot be prosecuted for the offence of corporate manslaughter. An individual can only be prosecuted for their personal failings for gross negligence manslaughter. This is more likely to be the case for smaller organisations where a director or senior manager is solely responsible for the failings. We have, however, recently seen an increase in cases where both companies and individuals have both been prosecuted following a fatality.

Corporate Manslaughter prosecutions

Corporate Manslaughter prosecutions

If an organisation is found guilty of corporate manslaughter, the organisation will be facing an unlimited fine and the Court can also consider the imposition of a publicity order requiring the firm to publicise details of the conviction and fines. The level of fine will be dependent on the size of the organisation. The court can also impose a remedial order which requires the company to address and fix the cause of the fatality.

If you are under investigation for corporate manslaughter and need expert legal representation contact Forbes' Criminal Defence team on 01772 220 022. Our criminal defence solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

To avoid an accident occurring in the workplace, it is vital to follow Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance to review health & safety policies on a regular basis and ensure these are adhered to and enforced by senior management. This is also something we can advise on.

What happens during an investigation for Corporate Manslaughter?

What happens during an investigation for Corporate Manslaughter?

During investigations for corporate manslaughter, senior managers, and company policies (or lack of) will be reviewed to assess whether the company is adhering to health and safety requirements. Failure to adhere to health and safety obligations could result in charges for corporate manslaughter.

If you find yourself being investigated or charged with matters relating to murder or manslaughter you will need expert legal defence representation. It is vital to obtain expert legal defence representation at an early stage to prepare a strong case for your defence. Here at Forbes we have the team to assist you, contact our criminal defence team on 01772 220 022.

Funding

Legal Aid will not be available to companies but for individuals it may be available. Other funding options include private funding and insurance backed funding. We work closely with several insurance companies. We will not charge for an initial telephone consultation.

Our team can assist you with:

  • Enforcement notices

  • Advice on dawn raids, search, and seizure

  • Representation during interviews under caution

  • Gathering evidence during an investigation

  • Conducting on-site investigations

  • Challenging the prosecuting agency prior to prosecution

  • Representation at the Coroner's Court during inquests

  • Responding to disclosure requests

  • Court proceedings including representation at the lower and higher courts

  • Appeals.

Our dedicated Crime team

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Consultant, Crime

Daniel King

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Partner, Crime

Craig Liversidge

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Partner, Crime

Craig MacKenzie

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