Foster, N. (2012) Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia. LexisNexis Butterworths, Australia. Neil Foster is Associate Professor at Newcastle Law School, Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle, Australia.

Foster, N. Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia, LexisNexis Butterworths, Australia, 2012 (forthcoming).

S. Bittle, Still Dying for a Living, Shaping Corporate Criminal Liability After the Westray Mine Disaster, Vancouver, BC, UBC Press (Forthcoming, October 2012).

Collins, P. and Doig, A. (guest eds.), Special Issue: Retribution, Restitution, or a Culture of Rejection – Re-assessing Approaches to Corruption, 32(1) Public Administration and Development, Feb 2012.

James Gobert and Ana-Maria Pascal (eds), European Developments in Corporate Criminal Liability (Routledge, 2011)

When corporations carry on their business in a grossly negligent manner, or take a cavalier approach to risk management, the consequences can be catastrophic. The harm may be financial, as occurred when such well-regarded companies as Enron, Lehman Brothers, Worldcom and Barings collapsed, or it may be environmental, as illustrated most recently by the Gulf oil spill. Sometimes deaths and serious injuries on a mass scale occur, as in the Bhopal gas disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, the Paris crash of the Concorde, the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise, and rail crashes at Southall, Paddington and Hatfield in England.What role can the law play in preventing such debacles and in punishing the corporate offenders? This collection of thematic papers and European country reports addresses these questions at both a theoretical and empirical level. The thematic papers analyse corporate criminal liability from a range of academic disciplines, including law, sociology/criminology, economics, philosophy and environmental studies, whilst the country reports look at the laws of corporate crime throughout Europe, highlighting both common features and irreconcilable differences between the various jurisdictions. Please click here to order a copy of the book.

S. Bittle and L. Snider, “Moral Panics Deflected: The Failed Legislative Response to Canada’s Safety Crimes and Market Fraud”, Crime, Law and Social Change, 56, 4: 373-387, 2011.

Pieth M., Ivory R. (eds.), Corporate Criminal Liability. Emergence, Convergence, and Risk, Dordrecht – Heidelberg – London – New York: Springer, 2011.

Wells, C. & Quick, Ol. Lacey, Wells and Quick Restructuring Criminal Law, 4th ed., Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Foster, N. “OHS Prosecutions in Australia: the High Court decision in Kirk and its aftermath”, paper presented to Australian Labour Law Association Seminar, Queensland Chapter, Bris-bane, 6 August 2010.

Foster, N. “General Risks or Specific Measures? The High Court Decision in Kirk” (2010) 23 Australian Journal of Labour Law 230-239.

Foster, N. “Towards a National OHS Law”, paper presented to the 18th Annual Labour Law Conference, University of Sydney Law School & Workplace Research Centre, June 10, 2010, Sydney.

Steve Tombs and David Whyte, Regulatory Surrender: death, injury and the non-enforcement of law (2010)

A new book published by the Institute of Employment Rights documents how, during their time in office, New Labour’s desire to reduce the ‘burdens’ on businesses has emasculated the regulatory system that existed to prevent death and injury at work. Moreover, the key regulator, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), was no unwitting victim in this process – as the authors document, it anticipated and embraced many of the changes towards a lighter touch regulatory system.

Drawing upon a mass of data generated through Freedom of Information requests, Regulatory Surrender reveals how, in the last decade, the HSE has colluded in a policy process that now leaves it incapable of adequately enforcing safety law. Over the past decade there has been:

  • a 69% fall in the numbers of inspections made of business premises
  • a 63% decline in investigations of safety incidents at work
  • a 48% reduction in prosecutions

This collapse in inspection, investigation and enforcement has dramatically reduced the chances of businesses being detected and prosecuted for committing safety crimes.

The Institute of Employment Rights has made the book available to individuals at the trade union/student rate of £8.00. Please click here to order a copy of the book. Alternatively, you can contact

Higher workplace risk for migrants than for other workers

Research carried out by David Bergman and Dr Ana-Maria Pascal from the safety organisation CCA and published by legal experts at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors last year shows that migrant workers employed in the construction sector are at least twice as likely to die at work than those from the UK. Migrant deaths in other sectors is also on the increase, with the number of fatalities of non-UK workers up from nine in 2005/6 to 18 in 2007/8 and the proportion also doubling from 4.1% to 7.9% in the same period, against figures showing that 5.4% of the total workforce comprises migrants. Please click here to download the report.

Incidents reported to the Health & Safety Executive: Lack of Investigations

A 2008 CCA/Unite the Union report into the level of HSE investigations between 2001/2007. Please click here to download the report.

CCA Guidance on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The safety organisation Centre for Corporate Accountability published a guide on the new CMCH Act, which came into force in April 2008. Please click here to download the guidance.

James Gobert, “The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 – Thirteen years in the making but was it worth the wait?” (2008). 71 Modern Law Review 413. Please click here to download the article.

Clarkson, C. “Corporate Manslaughter: Need for a Special Offence?” in CMV Clarkson & Sally Cunningham (eds), Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death, Ashgate, 2008, pp. 79-96.

Wells, C. Corporations and Criminal Responsibility, 2nd ed., Clarendon Press, 2001.

Pinto, A. and Visentini, G. (eds.) Principles of Corporate Governance in the Publicly Held Corporation: A Comparative Analysis, Kluwer: 1997.

Wells, C. Negotiating Tragedy: Law and Disasters, London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1995.