On the 6 April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMA) came into force throughout the UK. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, the new offence is called corporate manslaughter, and in Scotland it is called corporate homicide.
The new offence was created to provide a means of accountability for very serious management failings across the organisation. The original intention was to overcome the problems at common law of ‘identification’ and ‘aggregation’ (the prosecution could not aggregate the failings of a number of individuals) in relation to incorporated bodies. The offence is now considerably wider in scope than simply overcoming these two problems and it now includes liability for organisations which could never previously be prosecuted for manslaughter.
The new offence is intended to work in conjunction with other forms of accountability such as gross negligent manslaughter for individuals and other health and safety legislation.
Penalties will include unlimited fines, remedial orders and publicity orders. A remedial order will require a company or organisation to take steps to remedy any management failure that led to a death. The court can also impose an order requiring the company or organisation to publicise that it has been convicted of the offence, giving the details, the amount of any fine imposed and the terms of any remedial order made.
Copies of the Act and Explanatory Notes are available for download below, where you will also find links to UK Government information.