Thus, existing laws against corporate manslaughter are generally compared to a paper tiger. This used to be the case in UK where organized labor and other concerned sectors had for many years railed against the growing number of deaths at work in which nobody gets the blame and receives the appropriate penalty.
In 2003, the country’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) noted that 10,000 Britons die at work each year, or one for every single hour. The report said in 2002 alone, 249 workers and 384 innocent bystanders were killed in workplace incidents, with 4,000 more dying from asbestos-related diseases and 6,000 from other occupational illnesses9. Media likewise estimated that over 40,000 people in UK had been killed in commercially related circumstances between 1966 and 200610, but under the old common law of manslaughter, only 34 companies were prosecuted for homicide and only seven resulted in convictions.
The old laws such as the law of gross negligence treated work-related deaths like common crimes, which seldom gave justice to the victims because of the inherent difficulty of pinpointing blame in a corporate setting. Under this common-law crime of manslaughter, government solicitors prosecuted erring firms in many celebrated cases but failed. Among these cases were the 1990 capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry boat owned and operated by P & O Ferries (Dover), which killed 192 people, and the Southall rail crash in 1997, which caused seven deaths and injuries to 151 others. In both cases there were difficulties in finding one senior person in the company who knew enough to incriminate him6.
What was found galling in these disasters was that they were not caused by mere individual mistakes but were part of a systemic failure of safety management10, which cries for the prosecution of an entire organization. There was one case in which government
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(Corporate Manslaughter, 2006)
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This provision will come in some time after the main enforcement date.
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16 pages (4000 words)Essay
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