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Corporate manslaughter

Criminal investigations can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation, operations and workforce. If wrongly handled, an investigation can rapidly cause wide-scale disruption across an organisation. Effective training, risk assessment, preparation and mitigation procedures are key to ensuring the best possible outcome.

Our track record extends to acting in some of the first corporate manslaughter investigations to be brought in the UK under the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

We have extensive experience advising clients in criminal investigations following fatalities or major incidents, as well as defending companies and individuals in subsequent criminal and civil proceedings and at coroners’ inquests. Where an incident has occurred overseas, we can advise on global best practice and act as an interface with local counsel and the investigating authorities.

We regularly deal with the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local coroners, Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and other regulatory authorities.

Recent experience includes

  • Acting for an international oil major in one of the UK’s first corporate manslaughter investigations following a fatality at a UK refinery:
    • four year joint police and HSE investigation
    • subsequent health and safety prosecution
    • civil proceedings.
  • Acting for the same client in relation to a separate fatality of a contractor:
    • attended site immediately after fatality
    • assisted the client with managing police and HSE investigation
    • represented client at coroner’s inquest
  • Representing the UK arm of a global corporate involved in heavy industry following fatalities on their UK plants including:
    • Immediate response to incidents and police/HSE investigations
    • Management of the company’s responses to police and the CPS investigation into corporate manslaughter together with HSE and internal enquiry
    • Representation of the company at the coroners’ inquests and defending in subsequent prosecutions in the Crown Court

We can

  • represent your company and key individuals (where appropriate) in investigations, prosecutions and inquests, including providing advice on management team processes, information and document control and legal privilege
  • audit your company’s health and safety culture and awareness and identify risk areas
  • advise on systems and controls of senior management to minimise the risk of corporate and/or individual criminal liability
  • provide boardroom training to company boards on responding and handling corporate manslaughter investigations, including conducting mock police interviews