Prosecuting a company
Prosecuting a company

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Prosecuting a company
  • Commencing proceedings against a company
  • Company representation
  • Summary trial of a company
  • Company charged with an either-way offence
  • Sentencing company defendants

Commencing proceedings against a company

Before a company is prosecuted a decision will be taken as to who is the appropriate prosecuting body. Once this and jurisdiction are resolved the investigation can be carried out. Before initiating proceedings the following details should be checked by the prosecutor:

  1. has the company been correctly identified?

  2. has the relevant consent been obtained where necessary? (eg the insolvency court dealing with the winding up of a company)

  3. has the limitation period for bringing a prosecution expired? (eg for summary prosecution the time limit is six months unless specified in the statute creating the offence) (there is no time limit for indictable only offences)

  4. has the controlling officer(s) been clearly identified and his status and functions established? The required mens rea of at least one controlling officer of the company must also be established in offences requiring mens rea

  5. has the correct address for service been identified? (eg the registered office or any place where the company conducts its business)

The information must be drafted in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Rules and the charges must be clear and unambiguous. See Practice Note: Drafting an information.

Some statutes create specific offences which may be committed by companies, such as the Bribery Act 2010, the Companies Act 2006 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, but a company

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