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Corporate Criminal Liability: What Purpose Does It Serve?

V. S. Khanna
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 109, No. 7 (May, 1996), pp. 1477-1534
DOI: 10.2307/1342023
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1342023
Page Count: 58
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Corporate Criminal Liability: What Purpose Does It Serve?
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Abstract

Although considerable debate surrounds society's increasing reliance on criminal liability to regulate corporate conduct, few have questioned in depth the fundamental basis for imposing criminal liability on corporations. In this Article, Mr. Khanna explores the underlying rationale for corporate criminal liability and finds it problematic. After summarizing the historical development of corporate criminal liability and surveying the current legal landscape, the Article explores the justifications for such liability. Mr. Khanna argues that corporate civil liability can capture the desirable features of corporate criminal liability, especially criminal liability's powerful enforcement and information-gathering dimensions. Furthermore, he contends that corporate civil liability avoids the undesirable features of corporate criminal liability. Such undesirable features include criminal procedural protections and criminal sanctions' stigma effects. Mr. Khanna concludes that a modified form of corporate civil liability could make corporate criminal liability obsolete by capturing the advantages of corporate criminal liability while avoiding or mitigating its disadvantages.

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