Corporate criminal liability

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The Canadian legislator has put in place a regime to impose criminal liability on corporations. In this video, Professor Jennifer Quaid outlines the main principles applicable to corporate criminal liability as well as the challenges encountered in implementing the regime.

Corporations are creatures of the law and cannot independently engage their criminal liability. It is indeed impossible to blame them directly for criminally reprehensible acts. These will always be the result of individuals involved in the organization.

To sanction an “organization” on the basis of a criminal offense, a link must be established between the organization and one or more natural persons. In Canadian law, an organization refers to the following entities: ” a public body, body corporate, society, company, firm, partnership, trade union or municipality”. The criminal liability of organizations can therefore only be established by relying on the actions of certain categories of people who play an important role in shaping the direction of the company. This includes business owners, directors, or officers.

Professor Quaid’s research combines criminal law and the study of organizational cultures with the aim of developing legal and policy measures that promote sound risk management and the adoption of ethical business practices.

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