Sailesh Mehta interviews for FPA’s Fire & Risk Management journal

April 4, 2023

Sailesh Mehta interviews Karen Galloway, a solicitor for North Yorkshire County Council about issues faced when bringing a fire prosecution.

The interview which is featured in Sailesh’s “Weighing up the Law” column looks at:

– the responsibilities of businesses to adhere to fire laws, who is culpable when something goes wrong?
– who has the duties for fire safety in a business and how these duties apply
– gaps in what is required resulting in buildings being noncompliant and unsafe and people open to being prosecuted

Case studies discussed include:

• a nail parlour in a four-storey building in Stonegate in the heart of York which was operating above a basement full of flammable materials and where Fire Investigation Officers found people sleeping on the upper floors.
• the prosecution of a nightclub owner; offences included no working fire alarm, no detection system, no emergency lighting. Working out who was responsible involved extensive researches of the multitude of companies and directors; charges against both the owner in his role as a director and also against the company
• Nightclub that had indoor fireworks displays, which was three times capacity with 1200 youngsters, which could have led to a disaster in case of fire.

Karen Galloway is a solicitor for North Yorkshire County Council, who, from 2008, has advised North Yorkshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority on enforcement matters, undertaking prosecutions on their behalf.

Sailesh Mehta specialises in fire law. He advises companies and their directors, as well as fire services across the country on aspects of law and policy. Sailesh prosecutes and defends, particularly in fatality cases. He leads the Red Lion Chambers’ Fire Law Team who offer expert, business focused, robust advice and advocacy. The Team represents corporations, company directors, UK fire and rescue authorities, as well as public and investigatory bodies. Learn more: [Fire Law]

Read column here: [pp52-53_Legal_Final]