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Case and Breach explained

When we prosecute a company or individual for breaches of health and safety law then we prepare a "Case" against them (the defendant). The case may involve one or more instances when the defendant has failed to comply with health and safety law - each one of these is a "Breach".  This site provides information on both Cases and Breaches.

What is a related case?

On occasions an incident (e.g. a gas explosion) may lead to more than one individual or company being prosecuted. If cases did result from the same incident or investigation then they will be linked on the prosecution system.

The 'Related Cases' link will only be present if HSE has made the connection. Clicking on the link will generate a list of 'related' cases.

How to search

When to use advanced search?

The advanced search enables you narrow your search of Cases or Breaches by combining two or more search items.

As well as combining search items, you can choose from a longer list of items.

Additional search items include:

  • Defendant's Address
  • Defendant’s Status
  • Type of location
  • Activity Code
  • Main Activity
  • Offence date
  • Total fine
  • Total costs awarded to HSE 

How to access advanced search

Select the Advanced search link from the Homepage

How to perform an advanced search

You must decide whether you want to find cases or breaches.  However, cases and related breaches are linked within the system so you can easily move between the details on either.

When you have decided on your search criteria:

  • Select Cases or Breaches
  • Click ‘Continue’

Searching for a Case?

If you have opted to search for a Case then a list of search items are displayed

Select from the list.  For example - you may know the defendant’s address so:

  • select ‘defendant’s address’
  • click ‘Continue’
  • enter part of the address e.g. Wirral.  Note : do not enter the full address
  • click ‘add’

The next step is to decide whether to ‘Perform search’ to see the results so far or ‘Continue’ to add another criteria. 

Click ‘Perform search’ to see results matching your search criteria so far.

If you decide to perform the search at this stage then a Case list appears.

Whatever search item used to find Cases, the list will always display the same information:

  • Case Number
  • Defendant's Name
  • Offence Date
  • Local Authority
  • Main Activity 

It also displays the number of results that match your search criteria e.g. "134 Matching results found".  The list displays a maximum of 10 entries per page.

Managing search results

How to select a case from the list

  • Click on the unique Case Number
  • If the Case you require does not appear on the first page - click on the page number link at the bottom of the page to view the other pages

How to re-sort the case hit list

You can re-sort any of the following columns:

  • Case Number
  • Defendant's Name
  • Offence Date
  • Local Authority
  • Main Activity

To do this, simply select one of the above column names from the drop down list and click ‘Sort’.  This will then display the cases in the new sort order.

Case Detail

This contains the full description of the selected case:

  • who was prosecuted
  • why (case summary)
  • the total fine and costs
  • the breaches involved
  • where the offence took place
  • which part of HSE took the case

There are links available on the case detail which gives you more information:

  • Defendant – by clicking on the defendant name you can see defendant’s name, address, status and HSE reference

From this screen you can also:

  • See all cases against this defendant by selecting ‘List all cases involving this defendant’
  • See all breaches against this defendant by selecting ‘List all Breaches involving this defendant’

By selecting either of the links above to view all cases or breaches involving a defendant, a list is returned.

If you select ‘Breach involved in this case’ from the Case Detail you can see the Breaches related to the Case.  If there is:

  • only one Breach it will take you directly to the Breach Detail
  • more than one Breach, then a Breach list is displayed

How to select a breach from the list

The Breach Number uniquely identifies the Breach. It contains the Case number and Breach I.D.  For more details click on the breach link.

Searching for a Breach?

If you have opted to search for Breaches then a list of search items are displayed.  Again, these differ slightly from those for Cases.  See ‘Searching for a Case’ for how to search for Cases.
Select from the list of search items displayed.  For example - you may know the Act the defendant failed to comply with e.g. Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA).  So:

  • select ‘act’ from the list of items displayed and click ‘go’
  • choose the relevant act by clicking on the arrow to expand the list
  • select Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • click ‘add’
  • click ‘go’ to search

A list is then displayed matching the results of your search for Breaches.

What information appears on the list?

Whatever search item you used to find Breaches, the list will always display the same information:

  • Case/Breach Number
  • Defendant's Name
  • Hearing Date
  • Result
  • Fine
  • Act or Regulation 

It also displays the number of results that match your search criteria e.g. "134 Matching results found".  The list displays a maximum of 10 entries per page.

How to select a breach from the list

The Breach Number uniquely identifies the Breach.  It contains the Case number and Breach I.D.  For more details click on the breach link.

How to re-sort the breach list

You can re-sort any of the following columns:

  • Case/Breach Number
  • Defendant's Name
  • Hearing Date
  • Act or Regulation

To do this, simply select one of the above column names from the drop down list and click go
The will then refresh to display the cases in the new sort order.

The Breach Detail screen contains the full description of the selected breach:

  • case and breach number
  • who was prosecuted i.e. Defendant’s Detail
  • at which court
  • what was the fine
  • what was the breach result
  • which case is the breach associated with
  • which other breaches were involved
  • where the offence took place
  • which part of HSE took the case

There are links available on the Breach detail which gives you more information:

  • Defendant – by clicking on the defendant name you can see defendant’s name, address, status and HSE reference
  • Case details – you can see detail of the case related to the Breach
  • Other breaches in this case – by selecting this link you can see if there are other Breaches for this case

How to combine search criteria

To combine search criteria, you will use "AND", "OR" and "NOT

For Dates (e.g. Hearing Date) and Fine (e.g. Total Fine) you will use:

  • < (less than)
  • > (greater than)
  • = (equals)

To combine search criteria:

  • Select the Advanced search link from the Homepage
  • Then decide whether you want to find cases or breaches
  • Select Cases or Breaches
  • Click ‘Continue’
  • Select first search item from the list e.g. Total Fine
  • Click ‘Continue’

Then:

  • Select < (less than), (greater than), or = (equals) e.g. >10000
  • Click ‘add’

Then:

  • Add a criteria to the search – AND, OR, NOT
  • For example - ‘AND’ total costs awarded to HSE
  • Click ‘Continue’
  • Enter the total costs e.g. <5000
  • Click ‘Add’
  • Click ‘Perform search’

If you make a mistake, you can either click ‘Reset’ to clear all the search criteria or use the Back button on the Toolbar to move back one step at a time.

HSE aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health.

Updated: 2016-02-22