Sentencing for Corporate Manslaughter Offences for Large Businesses

The Sentencing Council has issued a definitive guideline on sentencing for health and safety offences which the courts have to take into account. This took effect on 1 February 2016 and makes a radical change in the levels of fines that are now being suggested. For example, for a large organization, which is defined as one with a turnover in excess of £50 million, the suggestion is the starting point for a corporate manslaughter offence with serious culpability of £7.5 million, with a range of £4.8 to £20 million depending on the level of culpability. In other words if an offence is deemed to be serious, £7.5 million is the starting point for the fine. If there are mitigating factors, it might relax that back to £4.8 million, but if there exacerbating factors and more serious issues, it might actually rise to £20 million.

The guideline says that for organizations which have a turnover greater than £50 million, the £20 million limit may not be sufficient.

This is a radical change to what has happened in the past where we’ve seen fines of £1 and £2 million. It means that if your business turns over more than £50 million, you need to understand the impact of health and safety offences, not only in terms of the reputation of your organisation, but also in financial terms and how a fine could affect your business.

For more specific advice on meeting your health and safety obligations within your organisation, contact Quadriga on 0118 929 9920 or click here to email us.

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