Scottish Sea Farms Ltd v HM Advocate


This judgment sets out the principles to be used when sentencing health and safety cases. 


Nature of Case

This case is about the principles that judges should consider when sentencing in serious health and safety cases.



Two companies were charged with breaches of health and safety law following the deaths of two employees on a barge moored at a sea farm operated by one of the companies. The second company was doing engineering work on the barge. 

The employees had suffocated after entering a chamber below the deck, due to very low oxygen levels. A further two workers were also severely injured. 

Both companies pled guilty to breaches of health and safety law and were fined £600,000 (discounted from £900,000) and £40,000 (discounted from £60,000) respectively. 

The companies appealed against the fines on the basis that they were too high. 



The appeal judges looked at whether the level of fine in this case was too high. They also looked at whether the sentencing judge had thought about all the relevant factors in the case. 



The judges in this case decided that –


Scottish Sea Farms Ltd v HM Advocate