Corporate Criminal Liability Review

This major comparative review considers the concept of corporate criminal liability in 24 jurisdictions across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific and is available here on Linklaters’ Client Knowledge Portal*.

As pressure from prosecution authorities increases, it is becoming ever more important for international companies to be aware of the potential impact of criminal conduct committed by their executives and employees and the risks and liability the company may face as a result – not least in order to be able to fine-tune and reinforce their compliance programmes. Companies operating outside their jurisdiction of incorporation will be particularly concerned to know whether foreign corporate criminal liability rules extend to them. They will also be eager to understand the risks and sanctions they may face as a result of criminal conduct for which they may be held liable.

Meanwhile, the existence of effective compliance systems is gaining in importance, both when it comes to determining the amount of any fine to be imposed following a finding of misconduct and at an earlier stage, when the decision is made whether to prosecute a company at all.

An understanding of current global trends is key to managing corporate risk. Linklaters’ review of corporate criminal liability provides at-a-glance answers to twelve questions:

  • can companies be criminally liable for wrongdoing?
  • for what kind of wrongdoing can a company be held criminally liable?
  • how far does criminal liability extend?
  • does criminal liability extend to foreign companies?
  • is the company legally obliged to disclose criminal offences to the competent prosecution authorities?
  • are the prosecution authorities legally obliged to conduct a criminal investigation into corporate wrongdoing?
  • what is the position of the defendant company in criminal proceedings?
  • is the company legally obliged to co-operate with the prosecution authorities in the proceedings?
  • what kind of sanctions can be imposed on companies?
  • what is the relevance of an effective compliance system?
  • how are criminal proceedings against companies conducted in practice?
  • likely future scope and development?

We have recently published a related publication, Taking stock. A review of anti-bribery and corruption law and enforcement across the globe, which provides a global picture of the fight against corruption in 25 jurisdictions. The publication is also available from our client knowledge portal.

This comparative review is intended to highlight issues rather than provide comprehensive advice. If you have any particular questions about corporate criminal liability and the risks companies can face, please do not hesitate to contact the Linklaters LLP lawyers with whom you work.

*If you are not a subscriber to the Client Knowledge Portal, you will need to subscribe to access the full report. The Client Knowledge Portal is a one-stop-shop delivering customised knowhow and value-add services to our clients. Please email to gain access.