Tuesday, July 22, 2008

International Society of the Reform of Criminal Law Discusses Corporate Criminal Liability

A recent conference of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law focused on Codifying the Criminal Law: Modern Initiatives. One of the panels, and an excellent one at that, focused on Criminal Liability of Organizations. The panel was moderated by James Hamilton, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Dublin, Ireland.

The discussion included comments on corporate criminal liability in Australia, noting that it was mainly in the regulatory arena. John Thorton, First Deputy Director, Commonwealth D.P.P., Canberra, ACT, Australia provided examples that included the Export Control Act, the Ozone Protection Act, and the Meat Inspection Act.  Joanne Klineberg, Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Ottawa, ON., Canada, provided a review of criminal liability of organizations in Canada. Sara Sun Beale, the Charles L.B. Lowndes Professor at Duke Law School, then looked at the development of corporate criminal liability in western Europe. The western countries initially rejected corporate criminal liability, but in 1992 France adopted it. It was interesting to see what countries use the Model Penal Code standard, and only apply corporate criminal liability when there is an act by a high managerial agent.

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