The Comparative History and Theory of Corporate Criminal Liability

26 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2012

See all articles by Markus D. Dubber

Markus D. Dubber

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 10, 2012


This paper is an exercise in comparative legal history and theory. It argues, first, that traditional views of the history of corporate criminal liability in German and Anglo-American law are interestingly mistaken, or at least incomplete, taken independently and comparatively, and, second, that histories and theories of corporate criminal liability engage in symbolic jurisprudence insofar as they treat their subject as a litmus test for other, more fundamental, phenomena, such as the relative influence of Roman and German law or the relative commitment of systems of criminal law to science, truth, and justice.

Keywords: corporate criminal liability, corporations, personhood, mens rea, comparative law, criminal law, legal history, comparative legal history, Gierke, Savigny, Maitland, German criminal law, American criminal law

JEL Classification: K14, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Dubber, Markus D., The Comparative History and Theory of Corporate Criminal Liability (July 10, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Markus D. Dubber (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5


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