Marsh Holds ‘Mock Trial’ to Highlight Corporate Manslaughter Act Risks

October 21, 2009

The UK’s Corporate Manslaughter Act and Corporate Homicide Act came into effect on April 6, 2008, and it continues to cause concern. So much in fact, that Marsh held a mock trial last week – at the Tower of London no less – to highlight the impact that a corporate manslaughter and health and safety prosecution could have on businesses, directors and senior managers, as well as the practical steps that can be taken to improve protection.

The Act clarified and defined a company’s criminal liabilities in the event that the way they have conducted or managed their organization results in a fatality. It allows criminal charges to be brought against organizations as a whole rather than individuals of the organization, although the alleged failure has to be substantially a result of high-level decision making. Companies not only face potentially stiff fines, if convicted, but are also required to publicize the conviction and details of the offense.

Marsh, who organized the event, said its mock trial was attended by over 240 delegates with insurance company QBE and Plexus Law.

Eric Alter, who organized the event and is a Business Risk Consultant at Marsh, commented: “The range of offenses for which employees, directors, managers and officers can be imprisoned has been broadened under UK legislation and the maximum financial penalties for many offenses are unlimited. In addition, the levels of fines that can be imposed on organizations can be as high as 10 percent of turnover and can also include publicity orders acknowledging guilt.

“To address these issues, organizations need to ensure that their health and safety policies are up to date and reflect the risks in the organization. These policies need to be clearly understood and implemented, and have clear ownership at board and senior management level. Organizations should also work closely with insurers to ensure that their defensibility position is optimized. By reducing their health and safety risks, and by working with their insurers, it is possible to achieve improved insurance terms.”

He added that the “mock trial was the perfect medium through which to demonstrate the challenges and penalties faced by business and directors as a result of the Corporate Manslaughter Act and Health and Safety Offences Act.”

Source: Marsh – or
See also IJ web site –

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