It frequently arises that both a company and one or more of its directors, fall to be sentenced for the same offence once guilt has been established.

The Court must decide upon the appropriate punishments to ensure that no offender is punished twice for the same offence where, for example, an individual is sole director and a shareholder in the defaulting company.    

Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors explains the dilemma faced by the Court in such circumstances.

If you are potentially facing the prospect of prosecution involving one of the scenarios outlined in this article, it is imperative that you seek legal expert guidance upon your potential liability.

The team at Kangs Solicitors is here to assist and please feel free to call one of our offices for a no obligation confidential discussion as follows:

Judicial Clarification | Kangs Sentencing Solicitors

In the reported case of R v Rollco Screw & Rivet Company Ltd & Others (1992), which was a Health and Safety prosecution against a company and directors, Lord Bingham CJ said:

‘… one must avoid a risk of overlap.  In a small company, the Directors are likely to be the shareholders and the main losers if a severe sanction is imposed upon the company.  We accept that the Court must be alert to make sure that it is not in effect imposing double punishment.’    

‘…on the other hand, it seems to us important in many cases that fines should be imposed which makes quite clear that there is a personal responsibility on Directors and that they cannot simply shuffle off their responsibilities to the corporate of which they are Directors’.

Crown Court Recent Decision | The Two Defendants Issue

The Court of Appeal was recently tested upon a decision where the Crown Court had imposed a financial penalty of £50,000 divided as to £40,000 against the company and £10,000 against its Director. 

The Court of Appeal had to decide whether the sum represented an appropriate penalty to be imposed for the offending having particular regard to the situation where the health and safety of the public was exposed to obvious risk. 

In the circumstances, the court concluded that the division attributed to the company and the Director was appropriate when recognising the gravity of the offending.

In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeal indicated that when dealing with fines between a director and a company it had to consider:

  • the appropriate total penalty,   
  • the differing culpability between the company and director(s) including considerations of financial benefit, intent and cost for the company,
  • whether or not it was appropriate to sentence each defendant separately whilst avoiding imposing double punishment.

How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of knowledge and experience assisting clients in defending criminal charges of every nature including those involving matters of Regulatory Law.

If you or your company require assistance in respect of any matters referred to in this article then please contact one of our team able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process as follows:             

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210

Helen Holder
hholder@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888 | 0161 817 5020 

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396