The crime of corporate manslaughter is specifically recognized under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 provides that corporations stay accountable for the damage which arose due to the serious management failings and resulted in a person’s death. Before corporate manslaughter was legally specified, companies could be prosecuted for criminal offenses, but the modern edition of the law is wider. It implies that a company can be found guilty if there is a breach of duty of the senior management.
Generally, the offense of corporate manslaughter does not apply to senior managers themselves. Nevertheless, in case if their negligence caused serious health and safety offenses, individuals are prosecuted for manslaughter. Guilty companies and individuals shall pay various penalties the amount of which depends on the severity of the consequences. The legislation cannot be applied to Armed Forces Operations and training related to police operations.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act requires that several components of the offense are proven to accuse the corporation of manslaughter. The defendant has to be a qualified organization which causes a death of an individual who was under organization’s relevant duty of care. That duty has to be breached by senior management of the organization which does not fall under the exemptions mentioned above.
The relevant duty of care which can be breached under the Act is the one owned under the civil law of negligence. Relevant duties are employer and occupier duties, duties of supplying goods and services, construction and maintenance work, and other activities on the commercial basis. At the same time, director’s duties are owed to the company and they do not necessarily transfer to the individuals affected by the corporate omission.