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North London Construction firm fined £550,000 under Corporate Manslaughter Sentencing

21 July 2016
 July 21, 2016

The Corporate Manslaughter Act clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies including large organisations where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality. Under new sentencing guidelines, major companies convicted of Corporate Manslaughter can face fines of up to £20M. Judges will impose fines in relation to the size of the convicted organisation.

In the case of Monavon Construction, a fine of £550,000 was imposed for two counts of Corporate Manslaughter and a breach of their duty to non-employees – the first sentencing since the new guidelines were introduced in February 2016. The organisation pleaded guilty after two men fell to their deaths into a 3.7 metre light well, having only perimeter edge protection, as opposed to fixed metal railings.

Sean Elson of Pinsent Masons law firm explained, “For a much larger company with a turnover exceeding £50M, the guidelines would likely have resulted in multi-million pound fines – possibly 10 times higher than the fine imposed in this case.”

The new guidelines were designed to ensure convicted companies were sentenced in accordance to their turnover, creating a fair and proportionate approach. The seriousness of the offence and the risk of serious harm are first assessed, setting the starting point and range of possible fines. It is then the size of the organisation, based on turnover that defines the final sentencing.

Along with a publicity order on the company, Monavon Construction were fined £250,000 for each Corporate Manslaughter offence, plus an additional £50,000 for the Health and Safety at Work Act breach. When sentencing the organisation, the judge took in to account their good safety record, lack of previous prosecutions against it and ‘remedial steps’ taken after the incident. Without these, the imposed fine could potentially have been larger.

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