R. v. Tangerine Confectionery Ltd; R. v. Veolia ES (UK) Ltd

Richard Matthews QC led for the prosecution in these joined appeals that resulted in the defining Court of Appeal authority on the nature of risk, causation and foreseeability, delivered by Lord Justice Hughes (as he then was).

The case followed the decision of the House of Lords in Chargot and the Supreme Court in Baker v Quantum [2011] UKSC 17 [2011] 1 WLR 1003.

In Tangerine & Veolia, the Court described how, “It is apparent from the history of these cases, and of others which have been cited to us, that the deceptively concise terms of [the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974] may have given rise to a number of unresolved conceptual debates which are troubling Crown Courts. The present two cases are said to give rise to the following questions,

  1. What is the relationship between ‘safety’ (s 2) and ‘risk’ (to safety) (s 3)?
  2. Where there has been an injury is the Crown required to prove that the offence caused it?
  3. To what extent must the Crown prove that the risk ‘derives’ from the defendant’s activities?
  4. What, if anything, is the relevance to these offences of foreseeability of injury or of an accident which has in fact happened?

The Court went on to answer all these questions.

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