Definition of corporate criminal liability:
A corporation can be held criminally liable for the acts, omissions or failures of an agent acting within the scope of his employment. Throughout the years, the courts have established different perspectives towards the criminal charges against groups of people and corporations and have approached a new database of setting regulations, which defines in which conditions a corporation, should be condemned for a crime. Courts put the gravity of such circumstances on corporation's employees as means of mens rea and act cactus reus to the corporation, since corporations are legal incorporeal entities.( Geraghty, Annie 2002).[2: ]
Companies have long been recognised as legal persons17 in
their own right. However, as expressed by Lord Reid in Tesco
Supermarkets v Nattrass:
"A living person has a mind which can have knowledge or intention or be negligent and he had hands to carry out his intentions.
A corporation has none of these."
In order to get around this problem the law has developed various techniques for attributing liability to corporate
entities. The first technique is the application of vicarious liability, which provides that a company will be strictly liable for criminal acts carried out by its employees in the course of their employment. However, as a general rule, vicarious liability does not form part of the criminal law in the UK.
The second technique is known as the "identification theory" and constitutes the primary method of imposing liability on companies under UK law. The identification theory provides that as a company has no mind of its own, it is necessary to identify the company's "directing mind and will". If the directing mind and will possessed the necessary mens rea for a particular offence, this state of mind is attributed to the company, which will then...