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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 12:16 GMT
Corporate Manslaughter Bill
This Bill will create the new offence of corporate manslaughter in England and Wales and the offence of corporate homicide in Scotland.

Responsible department: Dept for Trade and Industry
Origin: House of Commons
Introduced: July 2006
Second reading: 10 October 2006
Carried over 8 November 2006
  • Under the bill, an organisation will be guilty of corporate manslaughter "if the way in which any of its activities are managed or organised by its senior managers causes a person's death and amounts to a gross breach of relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased."
  • Organisations are defined as "a corporation, a department or other body, a police force."
  • The conviction on indictment of this offence is a fine and the offence is indictable only in the High Court.
  • Activities carried out by the police and law enforcement agencies are exempt but only in regards to operations dealing with terrorism, civil unrest or serious public disorder.
  • Certain activities performed by the armed forces are also exempt from the act.
  • The offences will only apply to organisations and there will be no personal liability.

    This bill was introduced in the last session and a motion was passed for it to be carried over into this session.

    The Bill has been controversial for rejecting the radical proposals of individual liability called for by the trade unions in favour of a more moderate approach.

    The Government has decided that companies as a whole are responsible for deaths and would face unlimited fines, individual managers and directors will not face jail.

    Currently the law means that organisations can only be prosecuted if an individual at the top of the company is also found personally liable.

    The Government argues the changes are required to better reflect the management structures of large organisations.

    The Labour party lost a Trade Union-sponsored motion on corporate killing at this year's party conference.

    TGWU leader Tony Woodley said the new rules were inadequate and company bosses were "getting away with murder".

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