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Law Council of Australia


Discussion Paper: Corporate Criminal Responsibility

The submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission in relation to its Discussion Paper on Corporate Criminal Responsibility was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Law Council recognises the need for there to be an effective regime in place to prosecute and punish criminal offending by corporations. Incidents of criminal offending by corporations can adversely impact communities, including the potential for loss of life or serious injury, and negative impacts on the environment and the economy. It is therefore important that bodies corporate are accountable for their conduct.

The release of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct by the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (the Royal Commission) has highlighted how pervasive and far reaching the effects of corporate misconduct can be, as well as the serious corrosive effects such misconduct has on public confidence in the corporate institutions that operate in the financial services sector.

In this context it is important that the criminal law be capable of effective application to conduct that properly amounts to a criminal offence committed by a corporation, be it under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code), the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) or the range of other legislation that applies to corporate regulation.

However, it is important that this be done in accordance with the fundamental principles that underpin the rule of law and the criminal justice system in Australia. This must be the starting point when considering reform in the area of corporate criminal responsibility.

You can read the full submission below.


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