Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Calls on corporate manslaughter act

ASCL has received a few calls asking about the implications of the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

The act is meant to deal with situations like the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' disaster where the loss of life is a result of the negligence or recklessness of a large company but the law cannot pin the blame on one person - which is the only way to convict for manslaughter at present.

Members can be assured that it should not affect their own personal liability, since has always been relatively easy to secure a conviction for a reckless action by an individual or managers in a small or medium-sized enterprise such as a school or college (as in the Lyme Bay canoeing disaster) since it is normally possible to identify a 'controlling mind'.

The only way a school or college might find itself in difficulties is if it had, for example, recklessly or negligently ignored fire safety in order to avoid expense and a pupil was killed as a result.

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