Corporate manslaughter—enforcement and prosecution
Corporate manslaughter—enforcement and prosecution

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

  • Corporate manslaughter—enforcement and prosecution
  • Corporate manslaughter investigations
  • Prosecution
  • Insurance
  • Sentencing

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA 2007) extends to the whole of the UK and introduced the offence of corporate manslaughter (known, in Scotland, as corporate homicide) on 6 April 2008. This Practice Note considers corporate manslaughter, rather than corporate homicide, as the two offences are treated slightly differently in some of the provisions of CMCHA 2007.

The Ministry of Justice has issued A guide to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007—October 2007, which explains its scope and gives some practical context on issues relating to investigations, prosecutions and penalties. For information about corporate manslaughter generally, see Practice Note: Corporate manslaughter—an introductory guide and for detailed information on the various elements of the offence of corporate manslaughter, see Practice Note: Corporate manslaughter—the offence.

Corporate manslaughter investigations

The offence of corporate manslaughter has been relatively under-used since it came into force; 10–12 prosecutions a year were anticipated, but these have not emerged, although the number of cases coming through the courts is increasing. It is not clear exactly why so few prosecutions have been brought under CMCHA 2007, but it is thought to be a combination of factors, including:

  1. the investigating and prosecuting authorities (the police and the Crown Prosecution Service) being unfamiliar with the offence and unexperienced in its investigation, and

  2. the unsuitability of the powers given to prosecuting authorities to investigate

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