Spotlight on corporate crime laws

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  • Law Commission begins review of corporate economic crime
  • potential reforms could include new offences to crack down on corporate criminality
  • part of pledge by Ministers to ensure laws are fit for purpose

Requested by Ministers, it will examine whether laws are sufficiently equipped to tackle economic crime. It will also consider whether reforms are needed to better hold companies to account for criminal wrongdoing undertaken by them, or on their behalf.

It comes as a government response to a call for evidence into the issue published today (3 November 2020) revealed that further investigation was required before any decisions on reforms can be made. The responses showed strong feelings on a range of issues with no clear consensus on how to proceed, meaning this work would benefit from additional time and scrutiny.

The review will consider whether any new offences need to be created to make it easier for enforcement agencies to prosecute crimes such as fraud, money laundering and false accounting.  The Law Commission is expected to present recommendations for reform next year.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland QC said:

Corporate economic crime undermines trust in business, distorts markets and damages people’s livelihoods and futures.

Firms that aid and abet this behaviour should know that it will not go unpunished and I look forward to the Law Commission’s recommendations on how we can strengthen this area of the law further.

The review was requested by the Ministry of Justice, HM Treasury, Home Office, Attorney General’s Office, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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