Risk and Regulation: Corporate Criminal Liability

Event venue: 
Event date: 
Thursday, November 12, 2020 -
12:30 to 13:30

CLICK HERE to watch the recording.

Few prosecutions are bought against companies because of the complexity and uncertainty surrounding the criminal liability of corporations. This was a matter for criticism by the recent Hayne Report into the banking and financial services sector. While there are many offence provisions in Australian regulation, the majority are for low level infractions, and do not address inherently criminal conduct. Along with complexity and uncertainty the multiplication of offences also discourages enforcement and further ‘discounts the currency’ of truly criminal sanctions.

In August 2020 the Australian Law Reform Commission issued Report 136, in which it made substantial recommendations for the reform of corporate criminal liability. These recommendations range from trying to identify what is conduct worthy of criminal sanction, rules for attributing criminal acts and intent to companies, the nature of a ‘culture of compliance’, the status and effects of acts and intent of company directors and officers, through to new sentencing principles. The relationships and distinctions made between corporate criminal and civil penalty liability were also considered.

The speakers for this seminar are all experts in company liability and are engaged with different stakeholders affected by this report. Their perspectives range from the academic, to that of regulators and legal professionals advising boards. This seminar would be of interest to company directors and officers, corporate legal counsel and risk professionals, staff of regulators involved in policy or enforcement, legal academics and lawyers generally.

Speakers and topics:

  • Professor Pamela Hanrahan, UNSW Business School, and expert advisor to the Hayne Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

Topic: What is inherently criminal? Comparing criminal and civil corporate liability.

  • Dr Olivia Dixon, Law Faculty, University of Sydney, and member of the ALRC Advisory Committee on this Report 136.

Topic: Criminal consequences: Sentencing corporations and new penalty options.

  • Mr Mark Standen, Partner, MinterEllison, a specialist in advising on corporate law and governance.

Topic: Personal criminal liability of directors and officers and its relationship to their companies.


Seminar Chair: Professor Dimity Kingsford Smith, MinterEllison Chair in Risk and Regulation, UNSW Law.