Can Corporations be Criminally Responsible?
In this paper I will attempt to clarify the notion of corporate criminal responsibility. My analysis is based upon the case of the Herald of Free Enterprise. In the theoretical and practical debate about this case I will analyse the legal difficulties around the notion of corporate criminal responsibility. These difficulties are essentially related to three questions. The first one is related to the fact that in our Western cultures, responsibility is based upon individual responsibility. The second one is related to the elimination of mens rea (the relevance of fault and the degrees of fault) in offences of strict liability. The last difficulty is connected to the values which inform the theory of individual responsibility, and the law which endorses it. Despite all these difficulties I shall argue that under certain circumstances it is possible to support that corporations have criminal responsibilities.
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