The drive to reform corporate manslaughter law will move forward next month when a draft Bill comes under scrutiny by parliamentary select committees.
The bill addresses the culpability of senior management following a workplace fatality.
The government has come under pressure from lobby groups to reform corporate manslaughter laws, given the number of unsuccessful prosecutions such as in the Hatfield rail disaster case.
The Hatfield courtroom saga ended this week with Balfour Beatty and Network Rail, formerly Railtrack, expected to be sentenced for health and safety offences. Both were cleared of manslaughter charges.
Magnus Burrough, corporate manslaughter solicitor at Lovells, said the case was another argument in favour of reform. "People may conclude what happened was the fault of the companies involved, yet the law was not successful because of the precondition requiring the conviction of a senior individual."
If passed the Bill will allow courts to expand investigations into the working practices of companies, instead of being limited to proving the gross negligence of company bosses.