Gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter


Richard Matthews QC advised the Home Office Legal Advisors on the drafting of the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 and is the author of the leading practitioner’s textbook on the Act, Blackstone’s Guide to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (Oxford University Press).

Richard Matthews QC has particular experience in gross negligence and corporate manslaughter trials, having led for the defence in a great number of such high profile cases; he has advised and represented at inquests and trials employers, corporations, company directors, local authorities, NHS Trusts, hospitals and individuals involved in gross negligence and corporate manslaughter investigations.

Previously for more than 10 years, Richard Matthews QC was Standing Counsel to the Health and Safety Executive and throughout that time advised both the HSE and Crown Prosecution Service in respect of many of the investigations into public disasters, multiple fatality incidents and serious safety related incidents.  Over many years, Richard advised the CPS and prosecuted a great number of the most serious gross negligence manslaughter cases, particularly those concerned with uniform services.

Reported cases

Richard Matthews QC appeared for the first defendant company, P Ltd, which was was convicted following a trial of corporate manslaughter of one of its employees, who had died after becoming trapped in an industrial oven. It was further convicted of offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, along with the second defendant director, M. In sentencing, the judge expressed his intention to that the penalty should bite against the director shareholders whilst at the same time ensuring that the company was preserved for the benefit of its employees. The judge imposed a fine of £200,000 on P Ltd.

Richard Matthews QC appeared for the Prosecution in relation to the prosecution of two individuals and a company for gross negligence manslaughter and corporate offences following the death of two firemen in an explosion at a fireworks factory.

Richard Matthews QC appeared for the appellant in this appeal against a sentence imposed for health and safety offences following acquittal on corporate and individual manslaughter charges, in which the Court of Appeal reduced the sentences imposed by the Crown Court judge.