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Duke Law

2009

Criminal Law

Law reform

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A Response To The Critics Of Corporate Criminal Liability, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2009

A Response To The Critics Of Corporate Criminal Liability, Sara Sun Beale

Faculty Scholarship

This essay responds to critics of corporate liability and to the claim that elimination or limitation of such liability should be a priority for law reform. It discusses four points. First, imposing criminal liability on corporations makes sense, because corporations are not mere “fictional” entities. Rather, corporations are very real – and enormously powerful – actors whose conduct often causes very significant harms both to individuals and to society as a whole. Second, in evaluating the priorities for law reform it is critical to recognize that most of the problems with corporate liability are endemic to U.S. criminal law, rather …