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New consultation over Corporate Manslaughter Act

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New guidelines have been released by sentencing advisors regarding financial penalties associated with the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

The Sentencing Advisory Panel is looking to abolish guidelines governing the payout convicted companies must hand-over after pleading not guilty to manslaughter.

Under current law, convicted companies could pay anywhere between 2.5% and 10% of their annual turnover in a first offence, but new guidelines are set to enforce more stringent penalties.

Convictions will be much more punitive under the new guidelines, and fines will be “in millions” and will “seldom be less than £500,000”, according to the consultation.

Courts will also administer stricter “publicity orders” which may force convicted organisations to publicise an offence on company websites. Courts have been advised to make these orders in virtually all cases, in addition to a fine and, if appropriate, a “remedial order” to correct management failings.

In July this year the first case of corporate manslaughter was launched against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, after a Junior Geologist was buried under a collapsing trench. The case is due to start in Bristol Crown Court next February and will give a clear indication to negligent businesses of the penalties likely to be levied on convictions.

The Sentencing Advisory Panel’s new consultations will be debated until January next year.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

December 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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