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«Can Corporations be Criminally Responsible? Conceição Soares Assistant Professor Centro de Estudos em Gestão e Economia/ Faculdade de Economia e ...»

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The Marchioness/Bowbelle case represents very well the difficulty of attributing criminal res-ponsibilities in matters relating to safety. The dredger (Bowbelle) struck from behind the Marchioness on the night of August 1989 on the river Thames, with the loss of 51 lives. “Lord Clarke’s report said: The basic cause of the collision is clear. It was poor lookout on both vessels. Neither vessel saw the other in time to take action to avoid the collision…. The owners of the Bowbelle, East Coast Aggregates, and the managing company for the dredger, South Coast Shipping, must bear their share of responsibility for the collision for failing properly to instruct their masters and crews [on lookout duties] and for failing thereafter to monitor them. … Lord Clarke criticised the former Department of Transport, which he said had been well aware of the problems posed by the limited visibility from the steering positions.” Even when it is not difficult to find the causes of the disaster it is not simple to bring a criminal prosecution against the corporation. See, “Report Spreads Blanket of Blame for Thames Tragedy”, The Guardian, Saturday March 24, (2001).

4 P & O European Ferries took over Townsend Car Ferries Limited.

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References Bayles, M. 1982. “Character, Purpose and criminal Responsibility”, Law and Philosophy, 1, 5: 5-20.

Bergman, David. 1993. Disasters – Where the Law Fails – A New Agenda for Dealing with Corporate Violence, London, Herald Families Association14.

Box, S. 1983. Crime and Mystification, Tavistock, London.

Boyd, Colin. 1996. “Ethics and Corporate Governance: The Issues Raised by the Clarkson, C. M. V. 1982. “Corporate Culpability”, Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 2.

Clarkson, C. M. V. 1996. “Kicking Corporate Bodies and Damning Souls”, The Modern Law Review, 59, 4, July:


Crainer, Stuart. 1993. Zeebrugge: Learning from Disaster – Lessons in Corporate Responsibility, Herald Families Association, London.

David Bergman. 1993. Disasters – Where the Law Fails – A New Agenda for Dealing with Corporate Violence, London, Herald Families Association Denning Lord. 1995. The Bolton (Engineering) Co Ltd v T.J. Graham & Sons Ltd, 1 QB 159, 172.

Field Stewart and Jörg Nico. 1978. “Corporate Liability and Manslaughter: Should we be going Dutch?”, The Criminal Review, 191: 156-71.

Fisse, Brent and Braithwaite, John. 1988. “The Allocation of Responsibility for Corporate Crime: Individualism, Collectivism and Accountability”, The Sydney Law Review, vol. 11: 47-49 Hart, H. L. A., 1963. Law, Liberty and Morality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, Hart, H. L. A, 1968. Punishment and Responsibility – Essays in the Philosophy of Law, Oxford, Clarendon Press, Hart, H. L. A. 1983a. “Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals”, Essay 2 in Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy, Oxford, Clarendon Press, Hart, H. L. A, 1983b. Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Harper, Keith 2000. “Tactless Corbett says sorry to crash families”, The Guardian, Saturday, November 11, p.4.

Horder, J. 1993. “Criminal Culpability: The Possibility of a General Theory”, Law and Philosophy, 1, 5: 193-215.

Laufer, W. S 2006. Corporate Bodies and Guilty Minds:The failure of Corporate Criminal Liability, The University of Chicago Press, London.

Simon, Midgley. 1994. “Boss is Jailed over Canoe Deaths”, The Independent, Friday 9 December 1-6.

Smith J.C and B. Hogan, 1996. Criminal Law, London, Butterworths.

Sullivan, G. R. 1995. “Express Corporate Guilt”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 15, 281, 19: 281-92.

The Sheen Report, 1987. Department of Transport, Report of Court No.8074, Formal Investigation of mv Herald of Free Enterprise, HMSO, London.

Wells, Celia. 1998a. “Corporate Responsibility”, Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, ed. by Chadwick London, Academic Press, vol.1: 654.

Wells, Celia. 1998b. “The Decline and Rise of English Murder: Corporate Crime and Individual Responsibility”, The Criminal Law Review, December: 788-801.

Wells, Celia, 2001. Corporations and Criminal Responsibility, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Wotton, Barbara. 1981. Crime and Criminal Law – Reflections of a Magistrate and Social Scientist, London, Steven.

Wootton, Barbara. 1960. “ Diminished Responsibility: A Layman’s View”, The Quarterly Review, Vol.76: 224- 39.

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