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THE CORPORATE AGENT IN CRIMINAL LAW – AN ARGUMENT FOR COMPREHENSIVE IDENTIFICATION

  • Mark Dsouza

Abstract

We use doctrines of identification to explain how corporations may commit criminal offences in their own right, but current versions thereof have several shortcomings. Here, I suggest that reformulating the identification doctrine to treat all corporate officers and employees as embodying the corporation when acting within their real or ostensible authority, might remedy these shortcomings. Arguments against the resulting expansion of corporate criminal liability are unconvincing, especially when juxtaposed with the criminal law's response to similar arguments made on behalf of natural persons. This may indicate that we should also moderate the criminal law's harshness towards natural persons.

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Corresponding author

Address for Correspondence: UCL Faculty of Laws, Bentham House, 4–8 Endsleigh Gardens, London, WC1H 0EG, UK. Email: m.dsouza@ucl.ac.uk.

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*

Lecturer, Faculty of Laws, University College London.

I am grateful for the research support provided by Ms. Mercedes Hering. Drafts of this paper were presented at various seminars, and I am grateful for the insightful comments, suggestions and criticisms of each of the attendees. In particular, I am grateful for the detailed feedback provided by Brandon Garrett, Samuel Buell, Will Thomas, Mihailis Diamantis, Doug Husak, Amy Sepinwall, Malcolm Thorburn, Francois Tanguay-Renaud, Vincent Chiao, Findlay Stark, Prince Saprai, Kevin Toh, George Letsas, Hasan Dindjer, Maytal Gilboa, Kristen Bell, Sinéad Agnew, Paul Davies, Sina Akbari, and the anonymous reviewers.

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1 Lamond, G., “What Is a Crime?” (2007) 27(4) O.J.L.S. 609, at 610.

2 Simester, A.P., Spencer, J.R., Stark, F., Sullivan, G.R. and Virgo, G.J., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law: Theory and Doctrine, 7th ed. (Oxford 2019), 5; Marshall, S.E. and Duff, R.A., “Criminalization and Sharing Wrongs” (1998) 11 Can.J.L.& Juris. 7.

3 Hampton, J., “The Moral Education Theory of Punishment” (1984) 13 Philosophy & Public Affairs 208, at 212; Buell, S., “The Blaming Function of Entity Criminal Liability” (2006) 81 Ind.L.J. 473, at 503.

4 Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 491, 497–98, 501–07, 524; M. Diamantis, “Corporate Criminal Minds” (2016) 91(5) Notre Dame L.Rev. 2049, at 2063–64; Gobert, J., “Corporate Criminality: New Crimes for the Times” [1994] Crim.L.R. 722, at 726–27; Anon., , “Regulating Corporate Behaviour through Criminal Sanctions” (1979) 92 Harv.L.Rev. 1227, at 1301, 1305. My view does not entail a commitment to a particular theory of punishment – any theory of punishment will either require, or be predicated on establishing, a conviction. See Pettit, P., “Responsibility Incorporated” (2007) 117 Ethics 171, at 175–76.

5 Zelditch, M. Jr., “Theories of Legitimacy” in Jost, J. and Major, B. (eds.), The Psychology of Legitimacy: Emerging Perspectives on Ideology, Justice, and Intergroup Relations (Cambridge 2001), 3948; Johnson, C., Dowd, T.J. and Ridgeway, C.L., “Legitimacy as a Social Process” (2006) 32 Annual Review of Sociology 53, at 5560; Walker, H., “Beyond Power and Domination: Legitimacy and Formal Organizations” in Johnson, C. (ed.), Legitimacy Processes in Organizations (Amsterdam 2004), 253–54. See also Wells, M.L., “‘Sociological Legitimacy’ in Supreme Court Opinions” (2007) 64 Wash. & Lee L.Rev. 1011, at 1015, 1027–47, discussing how judicial law must be sensitive to the public's recognition and acceptance of its rules in order to gain legitimacy. For similar arguments in the context of corporate criminal law see Kahan, D.M., “Social Meaning and the Economic Analysis of Crime” (1998) 27 J.L.S. 609, at 618–21; and Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 519–20.

6 One may counter that since corporations and persons are different, different standards should apply. But a characteristic feature of corporate criminal liability is that it “imitate[s] the imposition of criminal liability on human beings”. Lederman, E., “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability” (2000) 4 Buff.Crim.L.Rev. 641, at 650–55. See also Wells, C., “The Decline and Rise of English Murder: Corporate Crime and Individual Responsibility” [1988] Crim.L.R. 788, at 789–96; Wells, C., “Corporations: Culture, Risk and Criminal Liability” [1993] Crim.L.R. 551, at 553; Braithwaite, J., “White Collar Crime” (1985) 11 Annual Review of Sociology 1, at 1314. The label “criminal” carries prior significance; diluting it to apply it to corporations undermines its extension to corporations. Traditionally too, the English law approach has been to analogise corporations to natural persons, rather than to emphasise their differences.

7 Lennard's Carrying Co. v Asiatic Petroleum Co. [1915] A.C. 705; DPP v Kent and Sussex Contractors [1944] K.B. 146; R. v ICR Haulage [1944] K.B. 551; Moore v I Bresler [1944] 2 All. E.R. 515; HL Bolton (Engineering) Co. v TJ Graham & Sons [1957] 1 Q.B. 159; Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153; R. v Redfern and Dunlop (1992) 13 Cr. App. R. (S.) 709; Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500; Attorney-General's Reference (No.2 of 1999) [2000] Q.B. 796; R. v St. Regis Paper Co. [2011] EWCA Crim 2527, [2012] 1 Cr. App. R. 14.

8 E.g. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s. 33(1)(a).

9 E.g. Bribery Act 2010, s. 7.

10 E.g. Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, s. 1.

11 Tesco Stores v Brent LBC [1993] 1 W.L.R. 1037; DGFT v Pioneer Concrete (UK) [1995] 1 A.C. 456; R. v HM Coroner for East Kent, ex parte Spooner (1989) 88 Cr. App. R. 10, 16; Law Commission, Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), para. 5.16; and Law Commission, Involuntary Manslaughter (Law. Com. No. 237, 1996). See also the offence of “Failure of commercial organisation to prevent bribery”, Bribery Act 2010, s. 7. Cf. Sullivan, G.R., “The Attribution of Culpability to Limited Companies” (1996) 55 C.L.J. 515, at 518, who argues that identification is a restricted form of vicarious liability, since it is triggered by findings of culpability only in respect of a narrow class of senior officials. The suggestion that identification is not conceptually distinct from vicarious liability runs contrary to dicta in Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153, 170, 179, 190.

12 See e.g. Wells, C., “Corporate Failure to Prevent Economic Crime – a Proposal” [2017] Crim.L.R. 423; Campbell, L., “Corporate Liability and the Criminalisation of Failure” (2018) 12(2) L.F.M.R. 57. Cf. Ashworth, A., “A New Generation of Omissions Offences” [2018] Crim.L.R. 354, at 362–65.

13 Several other narrower objections are surveyed in Ashworth, “A New Generation of Omissions Offences”.

14 On fair labelling generally see Ashworth, A., Principles of Criminal Law, 6th ed. (Oxford 2009), 78; Simester, A.P. and Sullivan, G.R., “On the Nature and Rationale of Property Offences” in Duff, R.A. and Green, S.P. (eds.), Defining Crimes (Oxford 2005), 186–87; Wells, C., “Corporate Crime: Opening the Eyes of the Sentry” (2010) 30(3) L.S. 370, at 373–74.

15 The criminal law does not address this question at a metaphysical level, with good reason. The metaphysics of a company would depend, at a minimum, on the concerned company's nature, and the nature of the conduct and mental state being considered for attribution. Such inquiry is therefore ill-equipped to generate the sort of precise rule that can serve the interests of either business (which relies on certainty to manage risk) or the criminal law (which relies on it for fair warning).

16 Lennard's Carrying Co. v Asiatic Petroleum Co. [1915] A.C. 705, 713.

17 Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153, 170. See also DPP v Kent and Sussex Contractors [1944] K.B. 146, 155–57.

18 Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, pp. 651, 655–56.

19 HL Bolton (Engineering) Co. v TJ Graham & Sons [1957] 1 Q.B. 159, 172. See also DGFT v Pioneer Concrete (UK) [1995] 1 A.C. 456, 468, 475.

20 Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153, 170. See also DPP v Kent and Sussex Contractors [1944] K.B. 146, 156; R. v ICR Haulage [1944] K.B. 551, 559; Moore v I Bresler [1944] 2 All. E.R. 515, 516–18; R. v P&O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd. [1991] 93 Cr. App. R. 72, 82.

21 Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500, 507.

22 See e.g. Attorney-General's Reference (No. 2 of 1999) [2000] Q.B. 796; R. v St. Regis Paper Co. [2011] EWCA Crim 2527, [2012] 1 Cr. App. R. 14.

23 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), para. 5.103.

24 Ibid., at para. 6.1.

25 Duff, R.A., Intention, Agency and Criminal Liability (Oxford 1990), 116; Descartes, R., Meditations on First Philosophy, Eng. tr. (Cambridge 1986).

26 Duff, Intention, pp. 116–35; Wells, C., Corporations and Criminal Liability, 2nd ed. (Oxford 2001), 71.

27 R. Mays, “Towards Corporate Fault as the Basis of Criminal Liability of Corporations” (1998) M.J.L.S. 31, at 42.

28 E.g. DGFT v Pioneer Concrete (UK) [1995] 1 A.C. 456, 465, 470–81; R. v Great North of England Rly. Co. (1846) 9 Q.B. 315; HL Bolton (Engineering) Co. v TJ Graham & Sons [1957] 1 Q.B. 159; R. v. P&O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd. [1991] 93 Cr. App. R. 72, 83, 84; Mousell Bros. v London and North-Western Railway Co. [1917] 2 K.B. 836, 845; Griffiths v Studebakers [1924] 1 K.B. 102, 105.

29 Ormerod, D. and Laird, K., Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, 15th ed. (Oxford 2018), 248–49, 271–72; Griffiths v Studebakers [1924] 1 K.B. 102.

30 Mousell Bros. v London and North-Western Railway Co. [1917] 2 K.B. 836; R. v Great North of England Rly. Co. (1846) 9 Q.B. 315; HL Bolton (Engineering) Co. v TJ Graham & Sons [1957] 1 Q.B. 159.

31 Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, pp. 296–97.

32 Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153. Lord Reid (p. 171) identified “the board of directors, the managing director and perhaps other superior officers of a company”. Viscount Dilhorne (pp. 187–88) held that one had “to determine … who are … in actual control of the operations of the company”. He considered that these would include “any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or any person … purporting to act in any such capacity”. Lord Pearson (p. 193) added, and Lord Diplock agreed (pp. 199–200), that one should also refer to the company's constitutional documents in making this determination.

33 The PC described attribution to corporations as a “question … of construction rather than metaphysics”. Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500, 511.

34 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), para. 6.21.

35 Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 251, agree that “[t]he test… [of identification must be] the same whether the offence be serious or trivial”.

36 One answer may be that the dualistic distinction between mind and body is more useful when thinking about corporations. The truth of this proposition depends on whether dualistic ontological models of corporations generate better consequences (however we flesh out that yardstick) than non-dualistic ones. In Section V, I will propose a non-dualistic ontological model of corporations, and argue that it generates superior outcomes. My thanks to Findlay Stark for pressing me on this point.

37 This provision made it an offence for “any person offering to supply any goods [to give] … any indication … that the goods are being offered at a price less than that at which they are in fact being offered”.

38 Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153, 201, emphasis added.

39 Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500, 509–10.

40 See e.g. Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, pp. 297–98; Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, pp. 261–62; Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500.

41 Except when a model of identification rules out liability. But rarely are downstream consequence based arguments limited to such cases.

42 Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 250. See also Mays, “Towards Corporate Fault”, p. 44.

43 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 5.78–5.79, 5.104; Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 521; Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, pp. 251–52.

44 Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 250; Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, p. 295; J. Gobert, “Corporate Criminality: Four Models of Fault” (1994) 14 L.S. 393, at 400–01.

45 R. v. P&O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd. [1991] 93 Cr. App. R. 72. See also Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, p. 296; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 48–50.

46 R. v Redfern and Dunlop (1992) 13 Cr. App. R. (S.) 709.

47 Attorney-General's Reference (No. 2 of 1999) [2000] Q.B. 796.

48 R. v St. Regis Paper Co. [2011] EWCA Crim 2527, [2012] 1 Cr. App. R. 14.

49 Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 246; M. Jefferson, “Review of P. Almond's Corporate Manslaughter and Regulatory Reform” [2014] Crim.L.R. 162, at 163–64; C. Wells, “Corporate Criminal Liability: A Ten Year Review” [2014] Crim.L.R. 849, at 853.

50 See also Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 491–93; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 157.

51 R. v Great North of England Rly. Co. (1846) 9 Q.B. 315, 326–27.

52 See the discussion accompanying notes 5 and 6 above.

53 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 5.87–5.88; Gobert, J. and Punch, M., Rethinking Corporate Crime (London 2003), 63; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 157; Mays, “Towards Corporate Fault”, p. 43.

54 Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 519; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 157–58.

55 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 5.87–5.88; Gobert and Punch, Rethinking Corporate Crime, p. 63.

56 Braithwaite, “White Collar Crime”, p. 17.

57 Gobert, “Corporate Criminality”, pp. 395, 401; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 110–13; W. Wilson, Criminal Law, 6th ed. (Cambridge 2017), 172; Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, p. 296; Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 5.84–5.91.

58 N.Y. Cent. & Hudson River Ry. v United States 212 U.S. 481 (1909); Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, pp. 654–55; V.S. Khanna, “Corporate Liability Standards: When Should Corporations Be Held Criminally Liable?” (2000) 37 Am.Crim.L.Rev. 1239, at 1242–43. In practice, corporations are rarely prosecuted – instead, the credible threat of prosecution encourages corporations to accept fines and compliance oversight, and to assist prosecutions of culpable individual employees. See B.L. Garrett, Too Big to Jail (London 2014), 20–36, ch. 6; S.W. Buell, “Why Do Prosecutors Say Anything? The Case of Corporate Crime” (2018) 96 N.C.L.Rev. 823, at 830–31.

59 R. v Huggins (1730) 93 E.R. 915; R. (Chief Constable of Northumbria Police) v Newcastle Upon Tyne Magistrates' Court [2010] EWHC 935 (Admin.); Meridian Global Funds Management Asia v Securities Commission [1995] 2 A.C. 500, 507; Involuntary Manslaughter (Law. Com. No. 237, 1996), paras. 6.8, 7.29.

60 Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, p. 705.

61 Fisse, B. and Braithwaite, J., Corporations, Crime and Accountability (Cambridge 1993).

62 Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability.

63 The organisational fault model at least has found some acceptance in Australian law, where the Criminal Code Act 1995, s. 12, applies a version to federal corporate offences. It was also the proposed basis for the English statutory offence of corporate manslaughter, but the offence ultimately enacted in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 was a confused mixture of the organisational model and the identification doctrine. See Wells, “Corporate Criminal Liability”, p. 857.

64 The reactive fault theory locates culpability in a corporation's response to the actus reus of a criminal offence, rather than its performance of it. See Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 159; Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, pp. 300–01. The organisational model finds culpability (or the lack thereof) in whether corporation's general culture directed, encouraged, tolerated or led to noncompliance with the law. Setting aside momentarily worries about isolating something as vague as a corporate “culture”, this approach looks for fault in the culture in place independently of the specific act or omission that constituted the actus reus of the charged offence. If no “culpable culture” existed, then there would be no criminal liability even if the actus reus was traceable to a corporate officer's wrongdoing. Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, pp. 302–03; Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 263.

65 Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 8, 65–66.

66 Gobert, “Corporate Criminality: New Crimes for the Times”, p. 727; Gobert, “Corporate Criminality”, p. 394; Jefferson, M., “Corporate Criminal Liability in the 1990s” (2000) 64 J.C.L. 106, at 107. Cf. the discussion accompanying notes 5 and 6 above.

67 The model proposed is comprehensive only within the domain hitherto covered by other versions of identification, i.e. a company's liability for its employees’ acts. Other modes of attribution relevant to corporate agents and owners remain available. So, vicarious liability, where presently available, would continue to be available, and incriminating Board or General Meeting resolutions would still be attributed to the company.

68 Armagas v Mundogas [1986] 1 A.C. 717; Lloyd v Grace, Smith & Co. [1912] A.C. 716; Uxbridge Permanent Benefit Building Society v Pickard [1939] 2 K.B. 248.

69 Pharmed Medicare Private v Univar [2002] EWCA Civ 1569; Racing UK v Doncaster Racecourse [2005] EWCA Civ 999; Computer 2000 Distribution v ICM Computer Solutions [2004] EWCA Civ 1634.

70 Winter v Hockley Mint [2018] EWCA Civ 2480, [2019] 1 W.L.R. 1617; Armagas [1986] 1 A.C. 717.

71 There is some limited precedent for this approach in the domain of corporate criminal liability. Australian Criminal Code Act 1995, s. 12(2), attributes the conduct of a corporation's employees, agents, or officers, acting within the scope of their actual or apparent scope or authority, to the corporation. The phrase “actual or apparent authority” covers essentially the same ground as “real or ostensible authority” in the proposal for CI.

72 The Bribery Act 2010, s. 8(5), creates a presumption that an employee's actions expose the company to criminal liability. In fact, s. 8(3) goes further, potentially also allowing agents and subsidiaries to make the company criminally liable by their actions. See also C. Wells, “Who's Afraid of the Bribery Act 2010?” [2012] J.B.L. 420, at 425.

73 DGFT v Pioneer Concrete (UK) [1995] 1 A.C. 456, 465. Note that Lord Templeman uses “scope of employment” interchangeably with “course of employment” (e.g. at pp. 472, 474).

74 Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 153–54.

75 Involuntary Manslaughter (Law. Com. No. 237, 1996), para. 7.30; Gobert, “Corporate Criminality”, p. 398; Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, p. 652.

76 Khanna, “Corporate Liability Standards”, p. 1250.

77 Capuano explains this by distinguishing between theories of corporate agency (i.e. when natural persons act for companies) and of the corporate organism (i.e. when natural persons acts as companies). A. Capuano, “Company Liability and the Case for a Benefit Test in Organic Attribution” (2009) 24 Aust. Jnl. of Corp. Law 177.

78 Tesco Supermarkets v Nattrass [1972] A.C. 153.

79 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 6.1–6.96, except that corporate due diligence could not be judged by reference to the due diligence of directors (or equivalent persons).

80 For instance, signs at cafés stating that the till operator must offer a receipt or the order is free indicate one limit of the employee's authority. Similarly, when banks’ warnings not to disclose, even to its employees, passwords and PIN codes, communicate the limits of their employees’ authority.

81 For instance, the absence of a safety device and of rules requiring specified officers to check the bow doors were continuing problems on ferries operated by P&O European Ferries (Dover) and had nearly led to disaster at least five times before the Zeebrugge disaster. Sheen Report on the Formal Investigation regarding the MV Herald of the Free Enterprise (1987), para. 12.5; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 9. Similarly, the railway technician responsible for the Clapham Junction crash had been laying wires incorrectly for years before the accident occurred. Hidden Investigation into the Clapham Junction Railway Accident (1989), paras. 7.17, 7.22–7.35. Likewise, the train company involved in the Southall crash had likely delayed repairs to faults in the automatic warning system, etc., several times before the fatal crash. The Southall Rail Accident Inquiry Report (2000), para. 7.19. Connectedly, see Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 513, for his example of insurance companies benefitting from “hard-sell” bonus-based schemes that incentivise insurance mis-selling.

82 Admittedly, this is speculation. Even so, it would address Braithwaite's oft quoted worry about companies appointing “vice-presidents responsible for going to jail”. Braithwaite, “White Collar Crime”, p. 7.

83 Indeed, this is often how the US corporate criminal law regime works. See note 58 above.

84 E.g. in Griffiths v Studebakers [1924] 1 K.B. 102; Mousell Bros. v London and North-Western Railway Co. [1917] 2 K.B. 836; DGFT v Pioneer Concrete (UK) [1995] 1 A.C. 456.

85 E.g. concerns about imposing long prison sentences (with the connected hardship and degradation) are irrelevant, and concerns about the unfairness of penalties have less sway when the entity being penalised has voluntarily submitted itself to jurisdictional criminal laws. Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 20–21, 31–39; Braithwaite, “White Collar Crime”, p. 16; Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”; Gobert, “Corporate Criminality”, p. 398.

86 Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 156; Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, pp. 301–02; Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, pp. 254–55. Cf. Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, pp. 527–28, who objects that aggregation would let us find gross negligence in a company without ever encountering anything greater than “simple” negligence in any individual identified with it. This puzzles Sullivan, because he sees attribution as a special case of vicarious liability (p. 518), in which the agent's fault is attributed to the company. But if, as argued above, identification is distinct from vicarious liability, this objection falls. What's more, we uncontroversially aggregate the several venial negligent errors of individuals to find gross negligence (see R. v Adomako [1995] 1 A.C. 171, 182).

87 Attorney-General's Reference (No. 2 of 1999) [2000] Q.B. 796.

88 Spencer, J.R., “Manslaughter: Corporate Liability for Manslaughter – Gross Negligence” [2000] Crim.L.R. 475, at 478–79.

89 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 5.92–5.96.

90 Ibid., at para 5.93; see also Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 156; Jefferson, “Corporate Criminal Liability in the 1990s”, pp. 109–10; Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, pp. 688–89.

91 For a fuller explanation of this view, see Dsouza, M., “A Philosophically Enriched Exegesis of Criminal Accessorial Liability” (2019) 8 UCL J.L. and J. 1, at 1113.

92 Lederman, “Models for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability”, pp. 667–77, especially 668–69; Gobert, “Corporate Criminality”, pp. 403–07; Mays, “Towards Corporate Fault”, pp. 53–59; M. Dsouza, “Criminal Culpability after the Act” (2015) 26 K.L.J. 440, at 444.

93 Ormerod and Laird, Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Criminal Law, p. 261; Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 523; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 35.

94 Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 496, 523.

95 Fisse, B., “Sentencing Options against Corporations” (1990) 1(2) Crim.L.F. 211, at 212; Simester et al., Simester and Sullivan's Criminal Law, p. 293; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 35–36.

96 Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 502, 522.

97 Ibid., at pp. 522–23.

98 Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, pp. 528–29. See also Gobert and Punch, Rethinking Corporate Crime, p. 66.

99 Buell, “The Blaming Function”, p. 523.

100 Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 543.

101 Ibid., at p. 519.

102 Note 85 above.

103 See in this connection Duff, R.A., The Realm of Criminal Law (Oxford 2018), 6465.

104 Admittedly, this prosecutorial discretion may well be exercised effectively to maintain the status quo, as has happened in many US jurisdictions. See Garrett, Too Big to Jail, pp. 20–36. I cannot address that worry in detail here, but two possible responses present themselves. First, one might say that in exercising prosecutorial discretion too, the same standards as apply to natural persons should ordinarily apply to companies, with deviations therefrom needing justification. Secondly, one might find value in subjecting corporations to the discretion of the prosecutor, because this helps the criminal law achieve its deterrent objectives.

105 Criminal Liability in Regulatory Contexts (Law. Com. C.P. No. 195, 2010), paras. 1.25–1.32; Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, p. 20.

106 Wells, Corporations and Criminal Liability, pp. 31–39; Diamantis, “Corporate Criminal Minds”, pp. 2064–66.

107 Note 85 above.

108 Occasionally, we might glean a legislative intent to disapply an offence to corporations from the type of punishment prescribed. But this would be rare, especially as regards offences that existed before serious thought was given to the possibility of convicting corporations.

109 E.g. R. v Bentley (Deceased) [2001] 1 Cr. App. R. 21.

110 Buell, “The Blaming Function”, pp. 487–88.

111 Gobert and Punch, Rethinking Corporate Crime, ch. 7; Jefferson, M., “Corporate Criminal Liability: The Problem of Sanctions” (2001) 65 J.C.L. 235.

112 Standard Oil Co. of Texas v US, 307 F.2D. 120 (1962).

113 Sullivan, “The Attribution of Culpability”, p. 543.

114 Standard Oil Co. of Texas v US, 307 F.2D. 120 (1962), at paras. [15], [26], [28], [29].

115 Ibid., at para. [7].

116 Cf. R. v Tyrrell [1894] 1 Q.B. 710. See also R. v Gnango [2011] UKSC 59, [2012] 1 A.C. 827.

* Lecturer, Faculty of Laws, University College London.

I am grateful for the research support provided by Ms. Mercedes Hering. Drafts of this paper were presented at various seminars, and I am grateful for the insightful comments, suggestions and criticisms of each of the attendees. In particular, I am grateful for the detailed feedback provided by Brandon Garrett, Samuel Buell, Will Thomas, Mihailis Diamantis, Doug Husak, Amy Sepinwall, Malcolm Thorburn, Francois Tanguay-Renaud, Vincent Chiao, Findlay Stark, Prince Saprai, Kevin Toh, George Letsas, Hasan Dindjer, Maytal Gilboa, Kristen Bell, Sinéad Agnew, Paul Davies, Sina Akbari, and the anonymous reviewers.

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THE CORPORATE AGENT IN CRIMINAL LAW – AN ARGUMENT FOR COMPREHENSIVE IDENTIFICATION

  • Mark Dsouza

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