0370 270 6000

First corporate manslaughter case begins today

25 February 2010

Today, the first prosecution to be brought under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 begins at Bristol Crown Court.

A Cotswold based company, Geotechnical Holdings Limited has been charged with an offence arising from the death of a geologist who was killed when a pit collapsed as he was taking soil samples at a property in Brimscombe. The companys sole director, Peter Eaton, also faces a charge of manslaughter and both Mr Eaton and his company face charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Despite the introduction of the Act, and the pending prosecution at Bristol Crown Court, there still appears to be an appetite for greater regulation of companies when it comes to issues of health and safety. Backbench Labour MP, Frank Doran, has introduced a Private Members Bill to amend the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to place a specific positive duty on company directors to ensure health and safety in their organisations.

The Health and Safety (Company Director Liability) Bill had its first reading in Parliament on 19 January 2010 and is scheduled for a second reading on 23 April 2010.

In support of the Bill, Doran said,

"My Bill will place a positive duty on all company directors to take all reasonable steps to ensure health and safety in all aspects of the companys activities - effectively to put them in the same position as all other employers and to remove a glaring anomaly in our health and safety laws."

The current prosecution and proposal for yet further legislation highlight the need to ensure effective health and safety systems are in place such that, in the event of serious accident or fatality, a company would feel confident of defending itself during the ensuing police and HSE investigation.

For further information in relation to the prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, or for further information in relation to the Health and Safety (Company Director Liability) Bill please get in touch.

Focus on...

Legal updates

Shared Insights: The Patient Safety Incident Response Framework

In our latest Shared Insights session, Patient Safety Incident Response Framework, chaired by Amelia Newbold, Nicola Evans and Damian Whitlam, we were pleased to be joined by Lauren Mosley, Head of Patient Safety Implementation, NHS England and Tracey Herlihey, Head of Patient Safety Incident Response Policy, NHS England. The discussion covered a number of topics including the key elements of PSIRF, points for Trusts to consider including disclosure, and feedback from an early adopter Trust. For more information and details of how we can help, you can download the note at the link below.


Published articles

Assaults on staff - how can schools reduce the risk?

The risk of assault against staff is, sadly, something that all schools need to consider carefully. Here one legal expert explains what they can do to protect staff and ensure they fulfil their duty of care.



NHS England – Assuring and supporting complex change

NHS England has issued an updated (publication 11 October 2022) suite of Complex Change guidance about how it will assure and support proposals for complex change that are reportable to it. New and (where it is still in force) existing Complex Change guidance are as follows.



HSE inspection of asbestos in schools

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have announced they will be carrying out a programme of inspections to primary and secondary school establishments from September 2022. The inspections will assess how schools are managing the risks from asbestos and meeting the Duty to Manage requirements, set out in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up