Corporate liability and the criminalisation of failure

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Defining and prosecuting corporate criminality has long been fraught with difficulty. As a result, the UK legislature is turning to an indirect form of omissions liability, by criminalising failure to prevent certain crimes like bribery and the facilitation of tax evasion. This article charts the development of indirect omissions corporate liability in the UK, and examines its rationales and benefits. Existing commentary has not explicated the implications of extension to other offences; I consider possible objections, regarding due process rights; reliance on omissions liability; effectiveness; and the use of the measures to date. Though its likely impact is less than clear, I conclude that, on balance, corporate liability for failure to prevent crime is justifiable and warrants being extended to economic offences and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalLaw and Financial Markets Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bribery Act 2010
  • Corporate compliance
  • Corporate criminal liability
  • Criminal Finances Act 2017

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