Corporate killing proposals let company directors off hook20 May 2003
Proposals for draft legislation
Thompsons Solicitors, the UK's largest trade union and personal injury law firm, today welcomed any new law that will help bring companies to book that are responsible for disasters like the train crashes at Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield.
But it believes that the Home Secretary's proposals for draft legislation will let directors of large companies off the hook by not making them individually criminally liable for management failings that have led to deaths.
Thompsons is disappointed that the government has dropped its original proposal, supported by the unions, that directors of companies who are convicted of corporate killing should be disqualified. The Enterprise Act 2002 provides for directors to be disqualified for up to 15 years if their conduct contributed to a company's breach of competition law.
Mick Antoniw, partner, said: "It seems the government thinks financial wrongdoing is more serious than killing people. The Enterprise Act 2002 has a strong deterrent effect that includes custodial sentences. If prison is seen as an acceptable deterrent under this Act, why not for breaches of health and safety?"
Thompsons calls on the government to adopt Lawrie Quinn's Health and Safety Offences Bill that would see the courts given the power to imprison directors convicted personally of health and safety offences.
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