Notes and Changes

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The liability of legal persons for international crimes is a popular topic in receipt of regular scrutiny. Legal persons do not fall within the personal jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, but there have been proposals for this to change. Complaints to the ICC and other international bodies frequently point towards corporate actors, such as arms companies in the case of the conflict in Yemen, or social media companies in the case of alleged genocide in Myanmar. The proposed draft Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity includes a provision on the legal liability of legal persons. Against that international background, this webinar will explore Criminalising Corporate Conduct by reference to the UK's domestic law approach to international crimes. It will survey the legislative framework, critique the current position (including the maligned ‘directing mind’ test), and suggest some alternative routes to corporate liability. 

Russell Hopkins is a barrister in independent practice at Bright Line Law in London. He specialises in the liability of corporate actors for international human rights violations, in both civil and criminal law. Previously he practised as a solicitor and solicitor advocate at the international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, and was judicial assistant to Lord Collins and Lord Wilson at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He spent several years as an expert legal adviser to the Cambodian trial judges of the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and worked on several defence teams before international criminal tribunals, both at trial and on appeal. In addition to work in private practice, Russell contributed to the Council of Europe’s Manual on the Liability of Legal Persons for Corruption Offences, and advises the Global Legal Action Network as a pro bono member of its Legal Action Committee. Russell authored a chapter in a forthcoming collection on the International  Criminal Responsibility of War’s Funders and Profiteers, in which he evaluates “The Disjointed Web of Corporate Criminal Liability in England and Wales.”