Today's failure of the prosecution of five railway managers for corporate manslaughter following the Hatfield train crash highlights the urgent need for the government to bring in its corporate manslaughter legislation, says trade union law firm Thompsons.

Under the government's proposed corporate manslaughter legislation a prosecution may have succeeded because it would not have been necessary to prosecute individuals.

It would instead be necessary to show that a decision of senior management was grossly negligent and resulted in the deaths and this may well have resulted in a conviction.

Mick Antoniw, an expert in corporate manslaughter law and a Thompsons partner said: "However, it is not just enough that there is a new law. There have to be effective penalties which include fines as well as measures such as corporate probation so that companies can be monitored and forced to report to the court on the measures they are taking to avoid future accidents. As it stands, the government's draft legislation would only allow for a fine and it is not clear how much that fine would be."Notes for editorsThompsons is the UK's leading trade union and personal injury law firm. A briefing on the government's draft corporate manslaughter bill can be downloaded from this website as a PDF file.