Azara Blog: New corporate homicide law comes into effect

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Date published: 2008/04/06

The BBC says:

A new law has come into force which is intended to make it easier to prosecute companies accused of causing death because of negligence.

Under the new offence of corporate manslaughter, employers may face large fines if it is proved they failed to take proper safety precautions.

The old law was criticised for making it too hard to bring prosecutions.

Proof is no longer needed that a single senior official was to blame, only that senior management played a role.

Under the new UK-wide legislation companies may face higher fines of up to 10% of turnover, or more in the most serious cases.

And for the first time the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act will make government bodies liable for prosecution by lifting their Crown immunity.

Justice minister Maria Eagle said: "From Sunday the law ensures improved justice for victims of corporate failures.

Does the new law apply to government ministers? If so, transport ministers could be (and ought to be) prosecuted for homicide every time someone dies on the A14 (or any other road) because the government cannot be bothered to improve the road. And health ministers could be prosecuted for homicide every time someone dies in the NHS due to negligent care brought on by lack of funding. Etc. Soon enough the entire cabinet would be behind bars. But, after all, governmental homicide is just as bad as corporate homicide, so fair is fair.

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