Toward More Efficient Corporate Knowledge

In a recent paper,[1] I argue that the criminal law needs what I call a functional approach to corporate knowledge.  When the law treats corporations as though they know things, it affects how they manage information.  Knowledge, in one form or another, is an element of the most frequent corporate crimes—false claims,[2] money laundering,[3] tax evasion,[4] etc.  Doctrines for attributing knowledge to corporations vary by jurisdiction and sweep different types of information within their scope.  The control test is the most restrictive, and attributes knowledge to corporations when high-ranking personnel are involved.[5]  Respondeat superior goes … Read more

How to Punish a Corporation

Start a conversation with a skeptic about the utility of corporate criminal law, and you soon come to an impasse: What could it possibly mean to punish a collective, fictional person?  Good responses to this question have been hard to come by.  People who believe in retribution, for example, would say that punishing criminals is a matter of giving them their just deserts.[1]  Common though retributive perspectives may be in the popular press and politics, it is far from clear what a corporation’s just deserts could be.[2]  Such justice frequently involves suffering of some kind, but suffering is … Read more