Be careful – proposed new penalties could put you out of business


Courts would initially look at the seriousness of the offence, its category, depending on the degree of culpability and risk of harm.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 7 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

There is a new and worrying feel about the level of fines that may be imposed for health and safety offences and corporate manslaughter. 

The Sentencing Council (the independent organisation for reviewing sentencing guidelines for Courts) has published a consultation document with a view to providing more relevant sentences when offences are committed.

Courts would initially look at the seriousness of the offence, its category, depending on the degree of culpability and risk of harm. There is then a starting point for the fine which can be lifted or lowered depending on what the extra extenuating circumstances are. For Health and Safety offences these are limited but, as an example, the highest increase in fine would arise if there was a deliberate breach and flagrant disregard for the law. 

Additionally previous convictions, cost cutting, concealment, falsification of documents and more will raise the fine while, no previous convictions, evidence of steps to rectify the problem, cooperation with the investigation, effective Health and Safety procedures etc will reduce it.

The Court then reviews the accounts of a business to understand what profit levels are in place. But note, that in some circumstances the level of fine will put the offender out of business, which in some cases may be considered an acceptable consequence!

The consultation ends on 18 February 2015.

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.