The proposals for a new statutory offence of corporate manslaughter in England and Wales have come under fire from MPs. The draft bill does not make provision for individual liability but makes firms responsible where death has resulted from the failings of senior management. The Home Affairs Committee has warned that this could result in responsibility for health and safety being delegated to less senior individuals. The Committee called for a new offence of "secondary liability for corporate manslaughter" to be introduced to avoid exploitation of this potential loophole in the legislation.
The Committee also called for provisions to be introduced to make companies pay compensation in the event of corporate manslaughter and argued that directors should face up to 14 years in prison where serious failings in management result in fatalities. The suggestion that Crown bodies should fall outside the scope of the legislation was also questioned. Additionally, the report criticised the government's 8 year delay in putting the legislative proposals before parliament and called for the bill to be introduced during the current session.