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The Composition of Health and Safety in Employment Sentences in New Zealand: An Empirical Analysis

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Abstract

Sentences for employers convicted of offences under NZ health and safety in employment law have been subject to constraints from two main sources (i) legislation; and (ii) guideline judgment cases. This paper analyses the determinants of HSE offences over the period following the introduction of the De Spa Guidelines in March 1994 to the Hanham & Philp Guideline judgment in December 2008, and also splits the period to account for the implementation of the Sentencing Act 2002 and the HSE Amendment Act 2002. Among the De Spa Guidelines we find that the level of harm in particular, and employer culpability are not only consistently represented among significant determinants of HSE sentences in respect of fines and total liability faced by employers, but also emerge as important determinants of awards to accident victims. These results hold at the single s 6 charge level and at the case level, as well as for alternative specifications of our estimating model. Considering the two periods separately, we find that estimated coefficients are considerably larger in magnitude for the latter period. Results for the remaining De Spa factors and case-specific facts are less robust, although a defendant’s financial limitations provides a consistent and sizable fine discount, and several others also regularly appear as systematic HSE sentencing determinants.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Menclova & Alan Woodfield, 2013. "The Composition of Health and Safety in Employment Sentences in New Zealand: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 13/13, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:13/13
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    File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/1313.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan Woodfield & Stephen Hickson & Andrea Menclova, 2013. "An Empirical Analysis of Changing Guidelines for Health and Safety in Employment Sentences in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 13/14, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    2. Paul Gordon & Alan Woodfield, 2007. "Ex ante liability rules in New Zealand's health and safety in employment act: A law and economics analysis," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 91-108.
    3. Paul Gordon & Alan E. Woodfield, 2006. "Incentives and the Changing Structure of Penalties in New Zealand's Health and Safety in Employment Act," Working Papers in Economics 06/03, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Andrea Menclova & Alan Woodfield, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Health and Safety in Employment Sentencing in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 09/17, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    5. Alan Woodfield & Stephen Hickson & Andrea Menclova, 2013. "Forecasting Fines for Health and Safety in Employment Offences in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 13/15, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Woodfield & Stephen Hickson & Andrea Menclova, 2013. "An Empirical Analysis of Changing Guidelines for Health and Safety in Employment Sentences in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 13/14, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    2. Alan Woodfield & Stephen Hickson & Andrea Menclova, 2013. "Forecasting Fines for Health and Safety in Employment Offences in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 13/15, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    3. Alan Woodfield & Andrea Kutinova Menclova & Stephen Hickson, 2013. "An Empirical Analysis of Sentencing Starting Points for HSE Offences," Working Papers in Economics 13/34, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health & Safety Offences; Judicial Guidelines; Sentencing Determinants;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law

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