ITT 2008: Lawyer reassures industry over corporate manslaughter

A leading lawyer has assured the travel industry that it faces no greater liability under the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Peter Stewart, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, gave an “unequivocal” no to operators’ questions over whether they would face prosecution for deaths abroad under the new law.

He said the wording of the legislation made it clear that it does not affect outbound tour operators.

Stewart told delegates at the ITT Conference today that: “The government made it clear it was not going to impose UK health and safety standards to those outside the UK.” 

He added that the Ministry of Justice also published guidelines confirming “the answer was an emphatic no”.

However, he confirmed that under current legislation, an individual who is “grossly negligent” can be prosecuted for a death that occurs overseas. Stewart said this represents a “double jeopardy” as they can face prosecution under English law and in the country the death occurred in.

Stewart said: “It creates a more difficult position for individuals. Companies need to pay full and proper attention to a safety culture.”

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