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Northumbria Law School's Victoria Roper, speaking at the international seminar in South Korea
Northumbria Law School's Victoria Roper, speaking at the international seminar in South Korea

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Northumbria corporate manslaughter expert invited to South Korea for international seminar on reducing workplace fatalities

Northumbria University’s Associate Professor Victoria Roper was invited to South Korea this month to speak at an international seminar on reducing occupational fatalities.

The Associate Professor, from Northumbria Law School, was invited by the Korea Occupational Safety & Heath Agency (KOSHA) which was running the international seminar in Seoul as part of its 55thannual Safety Week. Victoria is a leading expert on the UK’s Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

South Korea’s controversial Serious Accident Punishment Act came into force in 2022 and imposes criminal liability on individuals and companies responsible for workplace deaths and serious accidents. The country has a high rate of workplace fatalities compared to the UK and other OECD countries and the new law is aimed at improving health and safety standards and reducing fatalities. KOSHA organised the seminar to deepen understanding of the new law and invited Victoria so that insights could be learnt as the UK is the first country in the world to introduce corporate manslaughter legislation and regularly enforce it. The other invited speakers were Professor Jeon Hyeong-Bae of Kangwon National University (South Korea) and Ho Siong Hin of the International Association of Labour Inspection (Singapore). The seminar was well attended in person and also live streamed on Youtube. Victoria met with journalists after the seminar and her comments were featured in three Korean newspapers: E Daily Korea; Labor Daily and the Hankyoreh.

Victoria commented: “It was a privilege to be invited by KOSHA to speak at this important seminar at a time when public discourse in South Korea is focused on what can be done to improve health and safety culture and save lives. The UK’s corporate manslaughter legislation has often been criticized, but my research suggests we need to reevaluate its strengths as the complex environment in which it operates has not always been acknowledged. South Korea’s new law has some differences to the UK’s, but there are lessons to be learnt from the UK experience.”

Victoria completed her doctorate on the topic of corporate manslaughter and has previously provided advice to a number of jurisdictions on the introduction of similar legislation including the Attorney General for the state of Victoria, Australia and the Japanese Ministry of Justice.

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