Capturing the Criminality of Hard Core Cartels: The Australian Proposal

31 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008

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This article reviews the proposal to make serious cartel conduct a criminal offence in Australia. It analyses the extent to which the proposal captures the criminality of the conduct to which it will apply; in particular, its culpability, harmfulness and moral wrongfulness. Two key assumptions underpin this analysis. First, criminalisation makes the morality of serious cartel activity a relevant consideration in the design and application of the new law. Secondly, recognition of the moral dimension will enhance the prospects of the criminal regime securing the support necessary for its effective enforcement. It should also boost the regime's deterrence value by facilitating internalisation of relevant moral norms in the business community. The article concludes that there is still much work to be done in refining and even rethinking aspects of the new offence to ensure that it properly reflects the criminal nature of hard core cartels.

Keywords: business, cartel, criminal, Australia

JEL Classification: K22

Suggested Citation

Beaton Wells, Caron Y., Capturing the Criminality of Hard Core Cartels: The Australian Proposal. Melbourne Univeristy Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2007, U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 331, Available at SSRN:

Caron Y. Beaton Wells (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010


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