Corporate Criminal Liability for Homicide: A Statutory Framework

James Harlow


September 21, 2011

Duke Law Journal, Vol. 61, No. 1, p. 123, 2011

Since the nineteenth century, judges, legislators, prosecutors, and academics have grappled with how best to accommodate within the criminal law corporations whose conduct causes the death of others. The result of this debate was a gradual legal evolution towards acceptance of corporate criminal liability for homicide. But, as this Note argues, the underlying legal framework for such liability is ill fitting and largely ineffective. Given the public benefit that would accrue from a clearly defined and potent liability scheme, this Note proposes a model criminal statute that would hold corporations directly liable for homicide. The proposed statute draws upon basic precepts of corporate criminal liability, as well as legislative developments in the United Kingdom and the insights of organizational theory. Ultimately, this Note argues that a statutory scheme would allow prosecutions of corporations for homicide to proceed more accurately, effectively, and fairly.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: Criminal Law, Corporations, Corporate Criminal Liability, Comparative Law, Homicide, Legislation, Legal History

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Date posted: September 24, 2011 ; Last revised: October 18, 2011

Suggested Citation

Harlow, James, Corporate Criminal Liability for Homicide: A Statutory Framework (September 21, 2011). Duke Law Journal, Vol. 61, No. 1, p. 123, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932843

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James Harlow (Contact Author)
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