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UK corporate manslaughter bill stalls after Lords extend liability to prison deaths

[JURIST] A proposed bill on corporate manslaughter came to a standstill in the UK House of Lords [official website] on Monday when Conservative and Liberal Democrats voted for an amendment which broadened the scope of the law to include deaths in prisons and police cells. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill [Crown Prosecution Service backgrounder] was proposed by the government to make companies and organizations culpable for deaths under penalty of fines, but UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] said the Home Office would withdraw the bill if it was extended to deaths in prisons and cells. Lord Hunt [party profile], spokesperson for the Conservative Party, called the amendment a "triumph for natural justice" and labeled the Home Office's threat to withdraw the bill as "political blackmail."

Under the proposed law, corporations and limited companies could face fines for deaths caused within the course of their operations. Culpability would be attached solely to the company, and not to individual officers and directors. The Telegraph has more.

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