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The Tragedy of Greenfell Tower.
Following the question we are asked to discuss about the criminal and civil law issues and
the proficiency of the law of England and Wales which are involved with the Greenfell tower
fire.
In case of criminal cases: This may be a murder. The requirement of murder (English
common law) is that there must be an unlawful killing with intent to kill or cause grievous
bodily harm. Regarding Greenfell tower fire, it can be said that that there is no intention to
murder or cause GBH. Accordingly no murder is committed here because prosecution
cannot prove necessary Mens rea for murder. However, whether it is a murder which
depends upon the investigation results.
This may be a corporate manslaughter. This is a statutory offence and originates from the
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. According to this Act a
company can be liable for the corporate manslaughter where serious failures in the
management of the company of health and safety result in a fatality. Prosecution need to
prove that company was breach health and safety regulation related to relevant matter. The
board of the company or director may also separately liable for the breach of the health and
safety regulations.
This may also be a gross negligence manslaughter. In generally gross negligence
manslaughter is a crime which occurred when someone breach his duty and as result
someone die for that breach. The prosecution need to prove that local council or builder of
the Greenfell tower have a duty of care towards the citizen of the Greenfell tower to provide
safe environment when fire occurred. They breach that duty because citizen of the Greenfell
tower can to able to exist because of building structure. As result 71 people die. So it can be
said that prosecution can be prove gross negligence manslaughter here. The responsible
person can be liable for it.
In relation to civil cases:
In Trot law the Council will be liable if there is a reasonable believe that they were
negligent of their duty of care. In Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman [1990] stated that there
are three requirements must be satisfied for establishing a duty of care. These are :
1. Reasonable foreseeability of harm to the claimant.
2. Proximity of the relationship.
3. That it is ‘fair, just and reasonable' to impose a duty of care in such situation.
Regarding Greenfell tower, it is clearly that the injury from fire was reasonably foreseeable
because the council neglected to install a sprinkler system and many fire alarms were
alleged to be not working and there was a proximity of relationship and they breached their
duty of care so it can be argued that the Council may be liable.
Conclusion:
In conclusion it can be said that the Council and other responsible companies can be liable
for corporate manslaughter. They may be liable for gross negligence manslaughter as well
under criminal law. Finally also they liable under law of negligence as well under civil
liability.
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