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Directors Duties - the argument for legal reform
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Extract from report by Prof Phil James on research evidence on whether the law on directors duties should be changed.

"Directors’ Responsibilities for Health and Safety – A Peer
Review of Three Key Pieces of Published Research
Prepared by Middlesex University Business School for the Health and Safety Executive"

This report looked at three reports on this question: CCA's report, "Making Companies Safe", Greenstreet Berman's report, and a report by the Health and Safety Laboratory.

Below is an extract from the conclusion:

“On the basis of the evidence reviewed in the report, there would seem reasonably good, evidence based, ground for trying ‘the legislative’ route, as suggested in the CCA report. Thus this evidence does indicate that statutory requirements are a major and perhaps the main driver of director behavior with regard to the issue of health and safety at work. It also indicates that directors are influenced by potential personal legal liabilities, even when the likelihood of their being penalized is low – a point which further suggests that the presence of such liabilities can have a positive impact notwithstanding the existence of a low probability of their actually being imposed – and suggested that many managers believe that beneficial consequences would flow from making directors more vulnerable to prosecution and the imposition of fines) … [O]n balance the research evidence consequently provides a strong, but not conclusive basis for arguing that the imposition of ‘positive’ health and safety duties on directors would serve to usefully supplement the liability that they currently face under section 37 of the Health and Safety [at work] Act. (p. 14 and .17) “

To download the full report, click here


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Page last updated on May 29, 2007