Business Crime: Health & Safety

Adrian Darbishire QC - Health & Safety Silk of the Year (Chambers Bar Awards 2015)

Adrian has ‘extensive experience in corporate manslaughter cases. He specialises largely in white-collar crime, and approaches his health and safety work from a criminal angle. "Handles witnesses and juries superbly." "He's got very good judgement and is an attractive advocate - judges just like him."  (Chambers & Partners 2015)

Our work covers

  • defence and prosecutions for corporate manslaughter
  • infringements of health and safety legislation
  • health and safety policy
  • health & safety management and training


We are experienced in a wide range of health and safety-related issues and cases.  We advise and regularly act on behalf of major corporate clients, both prior to potential proceedings and thereafter in court, as well as acting for individuals faced with prohibition notices or potential criminal prosecution, and acting in criminal proceedings in respect of alleged health and safety breaches, in particular those which are alleged to have caused death or serious injury.

Workplace manslaughters in which we have acted include, most recently, acting for the prosecution in R v Cotswold Geotech, the first prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007.

Members of chambers also acted in the following recent manslaughter cases:  R v Agis (artist charged with manslaughter after inflatable artwork took off), R v Moyano (consultant gynaecologist charged with manslaughter after death of patient on operating table), R v Lakeland (allegation of corporate manslaughter against caravan park operator following crushing of member of staff), Hatfield Rail Crash (large-scale prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter and H&S breaches).

We have also acted in innumerable health and safety prosecutions where death has been caused, arising in all sectors of industry.  Recent prosecutions concern breaches of PUWER, LOLER, CDM, WAHR and the Management Regulations, as well as breaches of section 2, 3 and 7 of the Act.

We have also acted for manufacturers of work equipment, under investigation in relation to non-compliance with European and domestic supply regulations.

Members of chambers practising in this area combine a long experience of the criminal law with an up to date and detailed knowledge of health and safety legislation.  We maintain good relationships with experts with whom we work frequently, and are always happy to offer recommendations for a suitable expert if able to do so.

Notable cases:

Inquest into the death of BW (2014)
Inquest into a death by electrocution
Adrian Darbishire QC | Selva Ramasamy

R – v – Sterecycle (2014)
Successful prosecution of a recycling company for Corporate Manslaughter
Adrian Darbishire QC | Jocelyn Ledward

R v Sidebottom (2014)
Mark Ellison QC represents construction company director on manslaughter by gross negligence charge relating to health and s
Mark Ellison QC | Adrian Darbishire QC

R v C (2014)
Acting for leisure company in health and safety prosecution following the drowning of a schoolgirl on a supervised inland bea
Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Natures Way (2014)
Represented a major food processing company at the Inquest following the electrocution of a sub-contractor.
Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Counsell (2014)
Fireworks contractor acquitted over M5 crash deaths.
Adrian Darbishire QC

London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (2013)
Death outside terminal
Mark Ellison QC

R v M (2012)
Workplace death
Sean Larkin QC

Workplace Fatality: H&S Charges Successfully Defended (2011)
Death of site foreman.  Principal and Sub-Contractor unanimously acquitted.
Adrian Darbishire QC

Geotechnical Holdings Ltd (2011)
Geotechnical Holdings Ltd
Mark Ellison QC | Adrian Darbishire QC


A new era of enforcement in hospital care?
Ben FitzGerald - Barrister at QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers and First Junior Counsel to the Mid Staffordshire Trust Public Inq 29.11.2013
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Corporate Manslaughter
An introduction to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 24.3.2009
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For more information on Fraud-related matters, please contact the clerks on 020 7933 8855 or