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Corporate criminal liability for manslaughter - The need for reform to combat workplace death and serious injury

Evans, Jessica (2002) Corporate criminal liability for manslaughter - The need for reform to combat workplace death and serious injury. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The high incidence of workplace death and serious injury in Western Australia must be addressed. Workplace health and safety law aims to reduce workplace death and serious injury, Compensate victims and their families, and rehabilitate surviving victims. Currently in Western Australia, the law's reductive goal is not optimally furthered. Criminal law offers a distinctive contribution to this goal. Only through criminal law can be dangerous corporate conduct causing workplace death or serious injury be denounced and recognised as morally wrong. Such recognition, together with stringent criminal sanctions, would more extensively deter corporations from conducting themselves in a manner that dangers their workers. Western Australian law regarding corporate criminal liability is gravely inadequate; reform is essential to combat workplace death and serious injury. It does not provide principles of criminal responsibility that are capable of rational application to corporations; its criminal negligence provisions have only restricted application to to workplaces; and it provides only limited sanctions in the unlikely event of conviction. Legal developments in other jurisdictions offer valuable direction to Western Australia. This paper examines two legal developments; the recent English proposals, which propose to introduce a substantive offence of "corporate killing" and revised corporate criminal responsibility principles in relation to this offence, and the recently operational Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995, which sets a basic standard of corporate responsibility that applies to all federal offences. The precise form that law reform should take is a complex question that must be considered by the law reform commission or a similar agency with the resources and expertise to tackle it. Corporate criminal liability reform is essential for Western Australian law to combat workplace death and serious injury most effectively.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor: Simmonds, Ralph
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40931
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