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Manslaughter - introduction

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Manslaughter is unlawful homicide without malice afterthought.


For the purposes of the exam board specification, Manslaughter  can be of two types:-


Involuntary Manslaughter

(a) A person acts with gross negligence and kills another person.

(b) A person kills another person whilst carrying out an unlawful act which would not normally kill or seriously hurt that other person.

Voluntary manslaugher

The defendant pleads successfully the defences of provocation,

suicide pact or

diminished responsibility.


Corporate manslaughter

Formerly, only a human being could commit manslaughter.

However, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has made some important changes in respect of the liability of organisations (including companies).


Where an organisation organises or manages its activities and a person dies and it is shown there was a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased, the organisation commits an offence.

It is not yet clear if manslaughter by gross negligence will still be available were appropriate.

When a company is responsible for the death of person the law looks for someone within the company who has been guilty of gross negligence.


The law will only convict a person or persons responsible who are the 'brains' (management) of the company.


If it is one of the 'hands' (worker) of the company, it will be the individual and not the company that the court will convict.

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