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R v P&O Ferries

[1991] 93 CAR 72

Case summary last updated at 11/01/2020 15:28 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v P&O Ferries

P&O allowed a problem to occur with their ship which led to deaths. Dctum of Lord Bingham: Manslaughter is the killing of one person by another, while a person acting as the embodiment of the corporation, and for the purposes of the corporation, is doing the act or omission that leads to death, the corporation is held liable for manslaughter AS WELL AS the person. The prosecution argued that the judge was in breach of precedent, citing Withers v DPP, where Lord Simon said that it was not open to courts to create new offences or modify existing ones so as to criminalise a new type of behaviour. The judge argues that he is merely extending who is culpable, not changing the nature of the crime itself. Bingham said in an earlier case that a company can be vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of its employees, and that this may extend to manslaughter. 

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