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Corporate Criminal Liability for Corruption Offences and the Due Diligence Defence: A Comparison of the Dutch and English Legal Frameworks

Authors:

Bram Meyer ,

Senior Judicial Assistant, Amsterdam Court of Appeal
About Bram
Senior Judicial Assistant, Amsterdam Court of Appeal
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Tessa van Roomen,

Criminal Defence Lawyer in the Corporate Criminal Law team, Houthoff Buruma, Amsterdam
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Eelke Sikkema

Utrecht University School of Law
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Abstract

This article addresses the question of to what extent companies can be held criminally liable for – active – bribery offences perpetrated by their employees. It focuses on the questions of to what extent companies have a duty of care to prevent bribery by employees and to what extent can a breach of such a duty of care cause criminal liability to ensue.
In this contribution, the authors set out to answer these questions by comparing the Dutch and the British legal systems. After assessing the international and national legal frameworks, they conclude that the Dutch anti-corruption provisions are, compared to the British, broadly formulated, including ambiguous terms and that – as a result of this – their scope is somewhat vague. Due diligence measures have a varying effect on determining the criminal liability of companies. In contrast, the due diligence question has a fixed, unequivocal place in the UK system of determining criminal liability, making the UK system seem more straightforward. But still, neither anti-corruption legislation nor case law provides clarity as to the scope of due diligence measures. To increase legal certainty, this article calls upon the Dutch Government to produce guidelines, similar to the British MoJ Guidance, that provide specific examples of the details of a compliance scheme.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.283
How to Cite: Meyer, B., van Roomen, T. & Sikkema, E., (2014). Corporate Criminal Liability for Corruption Offences and the Due Diligence Defence: A Comparison of the Dutch and English Legal Frameworks. Utrecht Law Review. 10(3), pp.37–54. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.283
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Published on 03 Jul 2014.
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