The first real authority on the FSO came in the case of New Look Retailers Ltd v The London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority in 2010. The Court of Appeal, in that case, considered whether and to what extent the approach to sentencing for offences under the FSO should follow the approach applied to offences in Health & Safety cases. The appeal itself was based upon the assertion that the Sentencing Judge failed to give sufficient weight to the fact that the breaches of duties were not causative of fire nor did they cause injury or death.
The principles of sentence outlined in Howe were applied to the facts of the New Look case and the Court of Appeal supported the Judge’s findings that there had been “a multitude of very real and deeply disturbing breaches resulting in a system falling a long way below the standard required and to be expected of a Company of this size”. The Court of Appeal went further, stating “The Judge rightly observed, in our view, that the Court does not have to wait until death or serious injury has occurred to express its displeasure at wholesale breaches of the Defendant’s responsibilities under the Order”. There was thus, “the potential for public consternation, inconvenience, and loss to other businesses in the area.”