The benefit of creating the term at this point is that lawmakers and prosecutors and defense lawyers will all be aware of the growth of the term as it moves through the judicial birth canal and is delivered in its full meaning, with all its parts in working order and ready to be tested at trial.
Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill
Important as the corporate manslaughter bill is to many people, it seems to receive much more talk than action. In 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to make the corporate manslaughter bill a priority, and that they would ensure it reached the statute books by 2007. The bill itself provides some of the parts need to make the overall concept of corporate manslaughter work, such as providing definition to certain corporate figure, like who is a Chairman, Managing Director, Chief Executive or Secretary of the Company. The Bill makes possible prosecution of an officer of the corporation, who might be found guilty of corporate killing, by default, if the corporation as an entity is found liable.
The theory is that by way of imposing penalties and jail terms on corporations and their people at the top, then that will cause the corporations to be more focused on and intent upon keeping its employees and civilian population safe and from harm's way. It relies on the presumption that corporations will develop a social conscience above and beyond the profit margins.
The Home Office presents the draft Bill on Corporate Manslaughter in this way:
CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER and CORPORATE HOMICIDE: A REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT of the GOVERNMENT'S BILL
1. This assessment considers the impact of proposals set out in the Government's Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill.
2. The proposals are intended to offer a more effective means of holding organisations to account for gross management failings causing death than is currently provided under the law of manslaughter in England and Wales and Northern Ireland and culpable homicide in Scotland1. In practice, it can prove very difficult to prosecute large corporations for gross negligence manslaughter/culpable homicide because the law requires proof that a "directing mind" (that is, an individual at the very top of the organisation who can be said to embody its decisions or actions) is guilty of the offence. In broad terms, the proposals would create a variant of this offence specific to organisations. Criminal liability would be attributed where the way the organisation's activities were managed or organised by its senior managers was grossly in breach of a duty of care it owed a person, causing their death.
3. The primary purpose of reform therefore is to offer a more effective sanction against organisations for whom the current law has little effective application. The new offence does not increase or decrease individual responsibility but instead provides a different basis for the criminal liability of organisations, where the focus is no longer on the guilt of a particular individual.
4. However, a consequence of reform should be a contribution to reducing the rate of work-related deaths and injuries. The proposals do not require any new standards to be met. But a more effective corporate manslaughter offence would provide an incentive for organisations where serious failings exist in the management of health and safety risks to review current arrangements and organise themselves in a way that minimises failings that might cause death. While existing health and safety legislation already provides for an unlimited fine on conviction for certain offences, the prospect of a manslaughter conviction under more effective legislation will provide an additional incentive to comply with appropriate standards.
5. This assessment sets out the background to the Bill, the options for reform and the likely costs and benefits to potential defendants, enforcing authorities and society as a whole, in the context of improving health and safety in the workplace.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill introduces a new offence of corporate manslaughter (for England and Wales and Northern Ireland) and a new offence of corporate homicide (for Scotland). For the remainder of this assessment, the term "corporate manslaughter" should be read to include corporate homicide.
1.4 RESEARCH FRAMEWORK
The hypothesis posited here is that the existing definition and application of the laws of negligence and manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter are deficient in definition, application and penalty as to be applied to the incident or events of "corporate manslaughter."
1.4.2 Research Questions
Q1 in what ways does corporate manslaughter differ from general manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter?
Q2 How do current domestic laws prove deficient in the face of "corporate manslaughter" findings?
Q3 How do current domestic law penalties stemming from negligence prove deficient in the face of "corporate manslaughter" findings?
Q4 How does the Law Commission's new proposals of 1996 prove deficient in the face of "corporate manslaughter" findings?
1.4.3 Research Objectives
The objective of this research is analyze and present a clear and concise documentation of the meaning and understanding through application of the current domestic laws that are applicable in cases of negligence that fall under the manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter laws, and the Law Commission's new proposals of 1996. This paper will provide a thorough and comprehensive discussion of those laws and look at specific case studies which have been subjected to the laws, but, if a distinct and separate "corporate manslaughter" law existed, would take those cases of the current application of law and put them into this distinct and separate law.
A second objective of this research study is to examine the applicable penalties of domestic law in findings of manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. To compare and contrast non-industry related cases findings of manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter with cases in which the findings were findings of manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter but the perpetrator of the offence is not an individual but a corporate entity, business, or individual acting in behalf of a corporate entity or business.
A third objective of this research study is to examine and consider and discuss the creation of corporate manslaughter laws within a legal framework; if in fact it becomes evident through this research study that distinct and separate corporate manslaughter laws and penalties should be created.
A fourth objective of this research study to examine and consider the existing laws and regulations that would be applicable in corporate settings, but not in domestic settings, and how, given those differences in settings, the same laws of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter are applied to findings of negligence. In other words, the industry related laws and regulations intended to keep employees and consumers safe, that do not exist in the domestic setting or setting outside of the workplace.
A final objective of this research study is to consider the benefits, if any, that society would derive from enacting separate and distinct corporate manslaughter laws and penalties. In other words, based on the findings of this research study, would the formation of such law and penalties work to negate the instances of corporate manslaughter as reflected by a reduction in the related statistics. This objective will be subject to further research and study to determine if in fact that outcome is achieved - and subject to the creation of distinct and separate corporate manslaughter laws and penalties.
1.4.4 Research Methods
The method employed in this research study is one of examining and considering and discussion of existing data and information on the topic of corporate manslaughter. The method employed involves a diverse range of sources in order to provide a broad range of legal expertise and opinion. Also, the method employed as one of desk study research draws on the quantitative and qualitative study data of other professionals and experts on the subject of corporate manslaughter. This research study method employs the use of specific case studies related to the topic.
1.4.5 Assumptions and Limitations
The limitations of the study fall within the qualitative and quantitative categories, because to the extent that quantitative or qualitative statistics are given, there is a reliance on the professional expertise of the source of those statistics. No independent gathering of statistical data or calculation of statistical data was performed by this researcher. To this extent, the statistical data as presented in this study must be noted as a limitation of this research study.
This study relies upon the professional expertise of prior researchers in the interpretation of some legalese. To this extent, the study is limited by the reliance upon the body of professional expertise in those interpretations.
Chapter 1 of the dissertation serves to introduce the study within the framework of the topic as described above. The research question is put forth, identifying the objectives of the study, and introducing the core concerns, stating the problems it will be addressing through the research. The introductory chapter sets out the thesis, around which the study will revolve.
Chapter 1 also presents the Corporate Manslaughter Bill Draft as it appears…