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Australia: Law Reform Commission calls for strengthened corporate criminal laws on human rights abuses

Implementation of the recommendations in this Report will improve Australia’s corporate criminal responsibility regime. These recommendations will:

  • Result in simpler, clearer laws that reduce the regulatory compliance burden on corporations;
  • Better protect individuals from serious corporate misconduct by ensuring the criminal law, regulators, and law enforcement are focused on the most egregious criminal conduct;
  • Make corporations less likely to view civil penalties as merely a ‘cost of doing business’, by criminalising corporate systems of conduct or patterns of behaviour that lead to breaches of civil penalty provisions;
  • Standardise the legal tests for attribution of criminal responsibility to corporations, to provide greater certainty, consistency, and clarity;
  • Increase the range of penalty and sentencing options available in respect of corporate offenders to punish and rehabilitate criminal corporations more effectively;
  • Provide for judicial oversight of Australia’s proposed Deferred Prosecution Agreements scheme;
  • Make Australian corporations criminally responsible if they fail to prevent an associate from committing certain crimes overseas on their behalf;
  • Ensure mechanisms to hold directors and senior managers liable for corporate misconduct are monitored closely following recent judicial and legislative developments; and
  • Establish a national approach to the collection and dissemination of data relating to corporate crime, to facilitate the development of evidence-based criminal justice policy.