Guide

Corporate manslaughter: an overview

Introduction

A business can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter (corporate homicide in Scotland) if gross failures in the way its activities are managed lead to someone's death. Courts can look at management systems and practices across the whole business and focus theĀ  investigation on how the activity was being managed. This means the worst corporate failures to manage health and safety can be prosecuted.

Corporate manslaughter applies to companies and other incorporated organisations. It also applies to partnerships if they are an employer.

The offence doesn't require you to comply with new rules, but you should make sure you're taking proper steps to meet current legal duties. If your business doesn't ensure the safety of others at work, and someone dies as a result, you couldbe charged with a serious crime.

This guide explains:

  • what corporate manslaughter is in more detail
  • who investigates it
  • what the penalties are
  • how good health and safety management practices can help you avoid prosecution