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ITT 2008: Corporate manslaughter law will not hit tour operators, says legal expert

The new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is unlikely to have any dramatic impact on outbound tour operators, said Peter Stewart, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse.

ITT Conference delegates will today hear Stewart speak with colleague Rhys Griffiths. They will aim to clear up the confusion and misinformation over the new act and its impact on the travel industry.

Reports have claimed this is a grey area, while Stewart is certain the new act’s impact will be good for the industry.

Stewart, a specialist in travel law, said: “There is no doubt the act makes corporate prosecution less likely for the travel industry.

“There is virtually no risk for outbound tour operators of a criminal prosecution for manslaughter. Far from increasing sanctions on outbound tour operators, the act reduces the existing sanctions.”

That is because the act does not apply outside the UK – an option the government ruled out when the bill was in parliament.

He added: “The new act provides for an aggregate responsibility within a company, but for outbound tour operators, the corporate manslaughter position is even better. The risk is minimal.”

Under the old law, a company could be liable for manslaughter if a director was identified as personally responsible for gross negligence.

Stewart added: “The new act provides for an aggregate res-ponsibility within a company, but for outbound tour operators, the corporate manslaughter position is even better. The risk is minimal.”

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