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Transco Plc v HM Advocate [2004] S.L.T. 995 is a Scottish company law case and was a decision from the High Court of Justiciary. It was the first ever attempted prosecution of a company for culpable homicide under Scots law. The case involved a gas explosion in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, which killed a family. The gas supply company Transco were subsequently charged with culpable homicide, along with a second alternative charge of breaching health and safety legislation.

[edit] Identification doctrineEdit

The court said the company can be held liable for culpable homicide. However it is only possible to convict a company of this common law crime if the prosecution could identify a controlling mind or group within the company – thus the "identification doctrine" was created. The doctrine said that it would only be possible to convict a company if a person or group of persons could be identifiable as controlling the acts of the company, such that their acts/state of mind is that of the company, thus constituting the guilt. This identification doctrine could not be found in this case and so the charge was irrelevant. Transco were prosecuted under the health and safety legislation and fined £1.5million. Transco v HM Advocate made Scottish legal history and gave definite guidance for when it is possible to prosecute a company.

Since the decision, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has become law, defining the specific offence of corporate homicide.

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