New guidelines announced by the Sentencing Council are set to have a dramatic effect on penalties handed down to organisations or individuals convicted of Corporate Manslaughter, Health and Safety, and Food Safety and Hygiene offences in England and Wales.

Until now, there has been limited guidance for judges and magistrates in dealing with what can be complex and serious offences that do not come before the courts as often as some other criminal offences. As a consequence, some offenders have not received fines that properly reflect the crimes they committed.

The guidelines are designed to ensure fines for these offences are fair and proportionate, reflecting the seriousness of the offence and the means of the offender.

In summary, the guidelines will allow the courts to take into account several components when imposing a fine including:

  • the culpability of the offender and whether they deliberately broke the law;
  • whether a high risk high risk of death or serious injury was created;
  • company turnover and profit;
  • the potential impact on employees; and
  • the potential impact on the organisation’s ability to improve conditions or make restitution to victims.

This means sentences will always be tailored to the offender’s specific circumstances.

While addressing remedial action with offenders is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rather than the courts, the guidelines also provide for remedial orders to be made by the court in addition to or instead of punishment in cases where they may be appropriate.

Following their publication today, the guidelines will come into force in courts on 1 February 2016.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Find what you were looking for?

Our FREE resources library contains over 200 searchable blogs, guides and templates focused around Employment Law and Health & Safety issues that employers face on a day-to-day basis.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Request a Callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Request a Callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch. Or call us on 0345 226 8393.
Hi, how can we help?
Click the button below to chat to an expert.

Is Your Business Based in Scotland?

Go straight to our free sector-specific Risk Assessment Templates for Scottish organisations…
 
Click to explore what’s available.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.