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Embargoed: 00.01 hours Tuesday 11 March 2003

New Briefing on Corporate Killing
A new briefing on corporate killing law is launched at a meeting by safety groups. The briefing coincides with an Early Day Motion on the subject has been tabled to allow MPs to register their support for a new law. [See notes to editor]

The corporate killing briefing is published by Disaster Action (a charity set up by people injured in or bereaved by disasters), the Centre for Corporate Accountability and the TUC

It says:

a new law would not hit small firms because they can already be prosecuted successfully – the new law would level the playing field and remove the competitive advantage large undertakings currently have;
the costs of a new law would be more than outweighed by the benefits of improved health and safety and a reduction in deaths at work; and
individual directors would not face further legal penalties under the new law, but would be encouraged to avoid the effect prosecutions would have on their organisation – loss of reputation and heavier fines than under existing health and safety law.

The briefing also looks at proposals that government departments (and even Parliament itself) should be immune from prosecution under the new offence of corporate killing as sending out the wrong signal.

To download copy of report (word), Click Here

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Notes to Editors

  1. The briefing launch, chaired by Tony Lloyd MP, Chair of the Trade Union group of Labour MPs, will take place in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, Westminster 6pm - 8pm, Tuesday, 11 March. Speakers include: Labour backbencher Andrew Dismore MP, Conservative MP Tony Baldry, and Liberal Democrat trade and industry spokesperson Vincent Cable MP; Maureen Kavanagh, whose son died in the Southall rail disaster in 1997; Amicus joint General Secretary Derek Simpson and GMB London Regional Secretary Paul Kenny.

  2. Early Day Motion 793, Corporate manslaughter, says:
    "That this House regrets that since 1997, over 2000 workers and members of the public have died in work-related incidents, as well as the Southall, Paddington, Hatfield and Potters Bar disasters; notes that during the same period only four companies and two directors have been convicted of the offence of manslaughter and that these were all small firms; recalls that the Law Commission recommended a new offence of corporate manslaughter in 1996 to hold large as well as small undertakings to account for causing death through grossly negligent failures of management; believes that such an offence would increase the accountability of directors and their equivalents, and encourage better safety standards in undertakings; and calls on the Government to put before Parliament measures to enact a new offence of corporate manslaughter as soon as possible."

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  3. David Bergman, Centre for Corporate Accountability - 020 7490 4494

    Pamela Dix, Disaster Action - 01483 799066

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