Corporate Criminal Intent
William A. Simpson
Metropolitan State College of Denver
August 5, 2009
This paper is about the corporation as criminal defendant. In common-law legal systems a fully constituted criminal offence normally requires proof of both the proscribed action (actus reus) and criminal intent (mens rea). However, it appears highly artificial to describe corporate mens rea with ordinary language terms such as “knowledge,” “belief,” “desire,” or “intention.” After a review of common-law and philosophical approaches to imputing criminal intent to the corporate defendant, this paper proposes a behavioral approach to attributing mens rea to corporations and concludes with a review of the (UK) Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 which, it is submitted, adopts just such an approach.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: corporation, mens rea, intent, corporate personhood
JEL Classification: G30
Date posted: August 5, 2009 ; Last revised: November 10, 2009
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