The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 or the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008: corporate killing and the law

Allan, Stuart (2016) The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 or the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008: corporate killing and the law. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the regulatory and legislative approach taken in the United Kingdom to deal with deaths arising from work related activities and, in particular, deaths that can be directly attributed to the behaviour of corporations and other organisations. Workplace health and safety has traditionally been seen in the United Kingdom as a regulatory function which can be traced to the very earliest days of the Industrial Revolution. With an emphasis on preventing workplace accidents and ill-health through guidance, advice and support, the health and safety legislation and enforcement regime which had evolved over the best part of two centuries was considered inadequate to effectively punish corporations considered responsible for deaths caused by their activities following a series of disasters in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
To address this apparent inadequacy, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 was introduced creating the offence of corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide. Based on a gross breach of a relevant duty of care resulting in the death of a person, the Act effectively changed what had previously considered a matter of regulation, an approach that had obvious weaknesses and shortcomings, to one of crime and criminal law.
Whether this is the best approach to dealing with deaths caused by an organisation is challenged in this thesis and the apparent distinction between ‘criminal’ and ‘regulatory’ offences is also examined. It was found that an amended Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to include a specific offence of corporate killing, in conjunction with the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 would almost certainly have resulted in a more effective approach to dealing with organisations responsible for causing deaths as consequence of their activities. It was also found that there was no substantive difference between ‘regulatory’ and ‘criminal’ law other than the stigma associated with the latter, and that distinction would almost certainly disappear, at least in the context of worker safety, as a consequence of the penalties available following the introduction of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Corporate manslaughter, corporate killing, health and safety at work, regulatory control of workplace safety.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Farmer, Prof Lindsay
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr Stuart Allan
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7376
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 10:47
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 13:17

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