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Sentencing Council Releases New Guidelines

November 3, 2015

GavelFollowing a public consultation, the Sentencing Council has released new guidelines for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences. The guidelines have been issued under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and must be taken into account by courts in all relevant cases.

For the first time company’s turnover, profits and directors pay will now be taken into account before deciding the size of fines. Some more serious offences can now attract unlimited fines, although the expected range of penalties depending on culpability, harm and turnover are: £50 to £10million for health and safety breaches, £180,000 to £20million for corporate manslaughter and £100 to £3million for food safety and hygiene offences.

Michael Caplan QC from the Sentencing Council believes a consistent approach to sentencing is important in respect of such varied offences. “These guidelines will introduce a consistent approach to sentencing, ensuring fair and proportionate sentences for those who cause death or injury to their employees and the public or put them at risk,” he said. “These offences can have very serious consequences and it is important that sentences reflect these.”

The guidelines will apply to all organisations and offenders aged 18 or over who are sentenced on or after 1 February 2016 regardless of the date of the offence.

You can view a copy of the guidance HERE