Deterring corporate wrongdoing: penalties, financial services misconduct and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

Helen Bird, George Gilligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A series of scandals in Australia’s financial sector in recent years have prompted high profile parliamentary and other public inquiries about how to counter corporate wrongdoing. In particular, as to the capability of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to counter such wrongdoing and the effectiveness of penalties regimes available to ASIC. This article contributes to current debates about regulating Australia’s financial services sector by examining enforcement under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) through the lens of a study of court-based enforcement by ASIC of financial services misconduct for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2014. This empirical snapshot of court-based enforcement suggests that penalties applied by courts are cautiously applied and that increases in the size and range of penalties available do not guarantee their subsequent application and use by courts. These findings have important implications for any future reviews of ASIC’s penalties regimes and enforcement practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-359
Number of pages28
JournalCompany and Securities Law Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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