A company is an artificial entity and, as such, is unable to form the intent, mens rea, to commit a criminal offence.
However, such an entity operates through officers, employees and agents for whom it can become vicariously liable.
Tim Thompson of Kangs Solicitors discusses briefly the position.
Companies Act 2006 | Kangs Corporate Crime Solicitors
Section 1 of the Companies Act 2006, defines a company as:
- a company formed and registered under the Companies Act 2006, or
- an existing company which is one formed and registered under previous Companies Acts.
Section 1255(1) of the Companies Act 2006 deals specifically with offences by bodies corporate and states as follows:
“Where an offence under this Part committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, an officer of the body, or a person purporting to act on such capacity, he as well as the body corporate is guilty of the offence and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”
Scrutiny Of Conduct | Kangs Business Crime Solicitors
In addition to constant scrutiny conducted by, for example, shareholders there are a number of bodies which conduct investigations, namely:
- the Insolvency Service Criminal Enforcement Team
- the Secretary of State of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (“DBIS”)
- the respective police constabularies
- the Serious Fraud Office
- the National Crime Agency
- the Financial Conduct Authority
All of the above have wide-ranging powers to investigate companies where misconduct is suspected and the investigation is considered to be in the public interest, the involvement of which can result in very grave consequences for a company’s operation and existence.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs National Corporate Crime Defence Solicitors
If you are made aware that any form of investigation is being conducted, or is about to be conducted, you should seek immediate advice and guidance.
Our Corporate Crime Defence Team has substantial experience representing companies, directors, agents and employees at all stages including initial investigation, interview under caution, pre-charge representations and up to and including Trials in the Crown Court.
Please feel free to contact our Team through any of the following: