Rise in Corporate Manslaughter Cases is “Tip of the Iceberg”

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons have warned corporate manslaughter cases are on the rise after seeing an 40% increase in charges from 45 in 2011 to 63 in 2012. In total, 141 cases have been opened since 2009, with 56 prosecutions currently ongoing, but despite the rise in numbers, there have only been three convictions since 2008.

Since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, large and medium-sized companies can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter for deaths arising from management failures which constituted a gross breach of a duty of care.

Commenting on the figures, Pinsent Masons' Simon Joyston-Bechal, said:

"High-risk industries and companies cannot be reassured by the current lack of convictions for corporate manslaughter.

"The three convictions so far are just the tip of an iceberg."

He added:

"Corporate manslaughter cases are very complex and can take a long time to come to trial. We can now see from these figures that there are a rapidly growing number of cases in the pipeline."

He also warned that companies that cut health and safety expenditure to help survive the recession could leave themselves liable to prosecution in the event of an accident, stating:

"All businesses need to have robust health and safety procedures in place."

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