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Faculty Scholarship

Duke Law

United States

Criminal Law

2014

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Liability And Admission Of Wrongdoing In Public Enforcement Of Law, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2014

Liability And Admission Of Wrongdoing In Public Enforcement Of Law, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Some judges and scholars have questioned the social value of the standard form in which the Securities and Exchange Commission settles its corporate enforcement actions, including the agency’s use of essentially unreviewed consent decrees that include no admission of liability or wrongdoing. This essay for a symposium on SEC enforcement provides an analysis of the deterrent effects of the three main components of settlements in public enforcement of law: liability, admission, and remedy. The conclusions are the following. All three components have beneficial deterrent effects. Cost considerations nonetheless justify some settlements that dispense with liability or admission, or even ...