In many modern legal systems, corporations can be held criminally liable. Yet how exactly corporate criminal liability can be established has proven to be a challenging question due to the uneasy fit of corporations with the criminal law. Different answers have been provided, resulting in models of corporate criminal liability that vary in their form and scope.

This talk focuses on the Dutch solution. In 1976, the Dutch legislature opted for a generic approach by declaring in the Criminal Code that corporations can be held criminally liable for all criminal offences. The framework used to establish corporate liability has been developed in case law and can be characterized as an open model, leaving room for ‘tailor-made’ decisions by the courts. In the talk, this model and several of the questions it raises will be explored. Moreover, the research which was conducted to find answers to these questions will be discussed. This includes a case law analysis of over 300 cases with corporate defendants.


A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30. The meeting will beging at 1pm.