Corporate manslaughter law one step closer to reality

Both employers and unions have welcomed the news that the government is one step closer to introducing an offence of corporate manslaughter.

The government has published its response to a joint report by the Home Affairs and Work and Pensions Committees and said it intended to introduce a draft Bill “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.

The Bill aims to make it easier to prosecute companies and other organisations where gross negligence leads to death. It will replace the need to find a “directing mind” – a key difficulty in past prosecutions – with a focus on the overall management of activities.

The Institute of Directors said that after five years of discussion, a key hurdle had now been cleared and the Home Office had the opportunity to introduce legislation that will “fill a gap in criminal law”.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “The Health and Safety Commission is currently working on new safety duties for directors, and the combination of these and the Bill could help make a real difference to the health and safety of UK workers.”

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