Criminalising Corporate Failure:Towards A New Model of Corporate Criminal Liability?

16 November 2017


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Speaker: Professor Liz Campbell, Durham University

Under common law, the imposition of criminal liability on corporate entities has long been fraught with difficulty. To remedy this, the UK legislature is turning increasingly to an indirect form of omissions liability: the Bribery Act 2010 introduced the corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery, and now this provision has been emulated in respect of the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in the Criminal Finances Act 2017. In this article I chart the development of indirect omissions liability for corporates in the UK, and examine its rationales and benefits. Existing commentary has not explicated possible objections to this model; in a novel analytical approach I consider the implications of extending this to other offences, given the consequences for due process rights and its questionable effectiveness. In articulating and addressing a number of conceivable counterarguments, I seek to bring normative clarity to the debate and to provide detailed analysis which is crucial in whether to justify (or indeed to oppose) the introduction of a wider scheme of indirect corporate criminal liability. I posit that indirect liability for failure to prevent is justifiable and warrants being extended; this conclusion is predicated on instrumental as well as expressive grounds.


About the Speaker

Liz Campbell is Professor of Criminal Law at Durham University. Her research is socio-legal, and looks at responses to organised/organisational crime, corruption, and financial crime; constructions of criminal law definitions; and the presumption of innocence. Her research has been funded by Research Council UK's Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security; Arts and Humanities Research Council; Law Foundation of New Zealand; Fulbright Commission; Modern Law Review; and Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. Currently she is involved in projects on the use of corporate vehicles to conceal and control illicit finance; the implications of Brexit for the policing of organised crime; and gender and the organisation of serious crime for gain.



This event will be chaired by Associate Professor Arlie Loughnan of the Sydney Law School. Her research examines criminal responsibility from a socio-historical perspective, setting developments in the law against extra-legal developments in responsibility norms and practices.

CPD Points: 1


The Sydney Institute of Criminology presents this lecture as part of our 2017 seminar series. Join us as Professor Liz Campbell reflects on the complex nature of corporate criminal liability.


Time: 12-1PM

Location: Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 0b2f276d3d1a2b011a2633000c4f23264979522a38770a34