Imagining How A Company Thinks: What is Corporate Culture?

Alice Belcher

Abstract


Corporate responsibility for crimes that require thought, or lack of thought, has been the subject of much debate both in the UK and worldwide. This article investigates the current position in the UK, where a Bill is currently (October 2006) before Parliament, and briefly in Australia, where the law has been reformed at Commonwealth level, but not yet implemented in individual States. In line with developments in Australian and the UK law a realist rather than nominalist position is taken that explicitly recognises genuine corporate fault. The article looks forward to the cases that are likely to be brought under the “corporate culture” provisions. It suggests that the practical methods of providing evidence of corporate ‘attitudes, policies, systems or accepted practices’ could very well include the records of meetings, very much in line with
the method attempted in the failed Transco prosecution in Scotland. It is
submitted that the conceptual foundation for the realist approach is sound and that there are practical ways of bringing the company before the court. However, there are also some conceptual and practical difficulties to be faced. Issues identified include the question of responsibility for sub-cultures and the practical problem of a proliferation of different sorts of evidence and expert opinions that could be put before the courts.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2006vol11no2art234

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