Corporate manslaughter—an introductory guide
Corporate manslaughter—an introductory guide

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Corporate manslaughter—an introductory guide
  • Corporate, not individual, liability
  • The offence of corporate manslaughter
  • Enforcement and prosecution of corporate manslaughter
  • Sentencing

The specific offence of corporate manslaughter was created by the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA 2007). The CMCHA 2007 extends to the whole of the UK and simultaneously introduced the offence of corporate homicide in Scotland. This Practice Note considers corporate manslaughter, rather than corporate homicide, as the two offences are treated slightly differently in some of the provisions of the CMCHA 2007. The Act came into force on 6 April 2008 and applies to deaths which occur from that date. Deaths which occurred before 6 April 2008 will need to be prosecuted under the common law offence of manslaughter. See Practice Note: Involuntary manslaughter.

Corporate, not individual, liability

The CMCHA 2007 is concerned with corporate liability and does not apply to directors or other individuals who have a senior role in a company. No individual liability is created under the CMCHA 2007. Moreover, the CMCHA 2007, s 18 specifically states that an individual cannot be guilty of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence of corporate manslaughter nor can an individual be guilty of encouraging or assisting an offence of corporate manslaughter.

The offence contained in the CMCHA 2007, s 1, only applies to the following organisations:

  1. corporation, including any body corporate wherever incorporated

  2. a department or other body listed in Schedule 1, which