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Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

13. The Criminal Liability of Corporations  

This chapter begins with a discussion of the law on corporate criminality, covering the difficulty in convicting companies of crimes; corporate killing; and vicarious liability. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 created a new offence of corporate manslaughter. This can be committed where the way in which a company’s activities are managed or organized amounts to a gross negligence and causes someone’s death. In a limited number of crimes, a company can be guilty in respect of the acts of one of its employees under the doctrine of vicarious liability. The second part of the chapter focuses on theoretical issues in corporate liability, covering the reality of corporate crime; the clamour for corporate liability; whether a company should be guilty of a crime; and what form corporate crime should take.

Chapter

Cover Card & James' Business Law

19. Incorporation and bodies corporate  

This chapter examines the law governing incorporation and bodies corporate. It explains that corporate bodies are called such because they are created via the process of incorporation and have corporate personality (and are therefore legal persons), and these types of business entities come in two principal forms, namely companies and limited liability partnerships. It discusses the formation and registration process for these types of businesses and the different types of registered companies. This chapter also describes the advantages of incorporation which include corporate personality, limited liability, and perpetual succession and its disadvantages which include civil liability, criminal liability, and potentially complex regulation.

Book

Cover Company Law

Brenda Hannigan

Company Law brings clarity and analysis to the ever-changing landscape of this field. The text aims to capture the dynamism of the subject, places the material in context, highlights its relevance and topicality, and guides readers through all the major issues. From incorporation through to liquidation and dissolution, the work explores the workings of the corporate entity. The book is divided into five distinct sections covering corporate structure (including legal personality and constitutional issues), corporate governance (including directors’ duties and liabilities), shareholders’ rights and remedies (including powers of decision-making and shareholder petitions), corporate finance (including share and loan capital), and corporate insolvency.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Text, Cases, & Materials on Criminal Law

25. Liability of corporations  

This chapter discusses the ways in which organizations and their members might be held liable in criminal law. It covers personal liability of individuals within an organization; vicarious liability; corporate liability: by breaching a statutory duty imposed on the organization, by committing strict liability offences, by being liable for the acts of individuals under the identification doctrine, and the specific statutory liability of organizations for homicide under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007; and liability of unincorporated associations.

Chapter

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law

3. Corporate Activity and Legal Liability  

This chapter discusses how the company acts as a legal person. It covers: contractual liability; corporate capacity; agency and authority in corporate contracting; contracts and the execution of documents; pre-incorporation contracts; corporate gifts; tort liability; criminal liability; whether and in what circumstances knowledge should be imputed to a company or other corporate body; and when attribution can be denied by the company.

Chapter

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law

4. Shareholders as an Organ of the Company  

This chapter discusses how the company acts as a legal person. It covers: contractual liability; corporate capacity; agency and authority in corporate contracting; contracts and the execution of documents; pre-incorporation contracts; corporate gifts; tort liability; criminal liability; whether and in what circumstances knowledge should be imputed to a company or other corporate body; and when attribution can be denied by the company.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

7. Parties to crime  

Michael J. Allen and Ian Edwards

Course-focused and contextual, Criminal Law provides a succinct overview of the key areas on the law curriculum balanced with thought-provoking contextual discussion. This chapter discusses the meaning of accomplices, vicarious liability, joint enterprise liability, and corporate liability. All the parties to a crime are accomplices. The person who perpetrates the crime is the principal. Others, not being principals, who participate in the commission of an offence are referred to as accessories or secondary parties and will be liable to conviction if it is proved that they aided, abetted, counselled, or procured the commission of the crime by the principal. Vicarious liability is a form of strict liability arising from the employer–employee relationship, without reference to any fault of the employer. A corporation is a legal person and therefore may be criminally liable, even though it has no physical existence and cannot act or think except through its directors or employees.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

1. Introduction  

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the aims of company law and governance. Company law should hold companies and directors to account, be flexible enough to respond to novel and evolving practices, provide certainty, promote transparency, help to avoid misalignment of interests, promote corporate efficiency, and help avoid corporate disaster. The chapter then looks at other key important business structures. Other than companies, the principal business structures are the sole proprietorship, the partnership, and the limited liability partnership. A sole proprietorship is a sole individual carrying on some form of business activity on their own account. Meanwhile, two or more persons who wish to engage in business together can form an ordinary partnership. Finally, limited liability partnerships were created to provide suitable business structures for large, professional firms. In many respects, limited liability partnerships resemble companies.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

3. Lifting the veil  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses ‘lifting the veil’, a phrase that refers to situations where the judiciary or the legislature have decided that the separation of corporate personality from the members must not be maintained. In this case, the veil of incorporation is said to be lifted. ‘Lifting’ is also known as ‘peeping’, ‘penetrating’, ‘piercing’, or ‘parting’. The chapter presents statutory examples of veil lifting, many of which involve corporate group structures and others involve straightforward shareholder limitation of liability issues. It also considers cases of veil lifting by the courts as well as classical veil lifting during the periods of 1897 to 1966, 1966 to 1989, and 1989 to the present. Four cases are highlighted: Adams v Cape Industries (1990), Chandler v Cape Plc (2012), Prest v Petrodel Industries Ltd (2013), and Hurstwood Properties (A) Ltd and others v Rossendale Borough Council and another (2021) as well as important recent case development. The chapter also examines claims of tortious liability, the liability of a parent company for personal injury, and commercial tort. Finally, it looks at the costs and benefits of limited liability.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

8. Corporate and vicarious liability  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter focuses on the potential criminal liability of organizations, particularly corporations. Corporations have a separate legal identity and are treated in law as having a legal personality distinct from the people who make up the corporation. Therefore, in theory at least, criminal liability may be imposed on the corporation separately from any liability imposed on the individual members. There are currently six ways in which a corporation or its directors may be prosecuted: personal liability of corporate directors, etc; strict liability offences; statutory offences imposing duties on corporations; vicarious liability; the identification doctrine; and statutory liability of corporate officers. The chapter also discusses the limits of corporate liability, the distinction between vicarious liability and personal duty, the application of vicarious liability, the delegation principle and the ‘attributed act’ principle. The chapter examines the failure to prevent offences found in the Bribery Act 2010 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

4. Rules of attribution—corporate acts and liabilities  

This chapter looks at identifying whose acts are the acts of the company for the purposes of determining the rights and liabilities of the company, given that the company is an artificial legal entity. There are several distinct rules of attribution which may assist in this context. The chapter examines corporate liability in contract, corporate liability in tort, and criminal liability of the company. The chapter addresses the debate between the traditional approach to attribution, relying on directing mind and will theory, (especially in criminal matters) and the more purposive approach being adopted in civil matters. Attribution in the case of the wrongdoing director is considered as well as the application of an illegality defence.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

1. Overview  

This chapter provides an overview of the work’s contents. It introduces the basic ideas of company law. A company is an artificial legal person capable of owning property, being a party to contracts and being a claimant or defendant in legal proceedings. A company is created by registration at Companies House under the Companies Act 2006. A company is both an association of members (shareholders) and a person separate from its members. Members are not liable for the company’s debts. Members are only liable to make an agreed capital contribution in return for their shares. Members appoint directors to manage the company’s business and represent the company. Every company must have articles of association which set out the company’s constitution.

Chapter

Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

6. Criminal Capacity, Mens Rea, and Fault  

This chapter deals first with another fundamental requirement of a crime: criminal capacity. It is a precondition of criminal liability that the defendant is a person with sufficient capacity to be held responsible. This leads to an examination of infancy and insanity as barriers to criminal responsibility, and then to a consideration of special factors affecting corporate criminal liability. Second, this chapter considers fault requirements as an element of criminal offences. It explores some of the reasons for and against the criminal law requiring proof of fault in any form. It also considers principal varieties of fault requirement in the criminal law, such as intention and recklessness.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French, and Ryan on Company Law

1. Overview  

This chapter provides an overview of the work’s contents. It introduces the basic ideas of company law. A company is an artificial legal person capable of owning property, being a party to contracts and being a claimant or defendant in legal proceedings. A company is created by registration at Companies House under the Companies Act 2006. A company is both an association of members (shareholders) and a person separate from its members. Members are not liable for the company’s debts. Members are only liable to make an agreed capital contribution in return for their shares. Members appoint directors to manage the company’s business and represent the company. Every company must have articles of association which set out the company’s constitution.

Book

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law
Sealy & Worthington’s Cases and Materials in Company Law clearly explains the fundamental structure of company law and provides a concise introduction to each different aspect of the subject. The materials are carefully selected and well supported by commentary so that the logic of the doctrinal or policy argument is unambiguously laid out. Notes and questions appear periodically throughout the text to provoke persistent analysis and debate, and to enable students to test their understanding of the issues as the topics unfold. This text covers a wide range of sources, and provides intelligent and thought-provoking commentary in a succinct format. It is invaluable to all those who need vital materials and expert observations on company law in one volume. This twelfth edition brings: improved chapter order and location of materials; the incorporation of changes necessitated by Brexit; complete updating of statutory, regulatory and case law materials, including by the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Act 2020 and the many changes and additions to corporate governance codes requiring ‘apply and explain’ and ‘comply or explain’ adherence; major rewriting of Chapter 3 (Corporate Activity and Legal Liability) in the light of significant Supreme Court cases; expansion of Chapter 6 (Corporate Governance) and Chapter 9 (Company Auditors), along with additional coverage of shareholder remedies (Chapter 8), including coverage of Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd (2020, SC) and new cases on statutory derivative actions; and additional coverage of insolvency issues.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Company Law

2. Companies and Corporate Personality  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions and coursework. Each book includes typical questions, suggested answers with commentary, illustrative diagrams, guidance on how to develop your answer, suggestions for further reading, and advice on exams and coursework. This chapter considers the main legal forms used for businesses in the UK—particularly sole traders, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and companies (public and private). It then examines how registered companies limited by shares come into existence. On registration a company becomes a legal person, separate from its shareholders and directors. This chapter explores this ‘corporate personality’ and the popular topic of when the ‘veil of incorporation’ can be lifted or pierced by statute or the courts.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

17. Company officers, secretary and auditor  

This chapter focuses on company officers (secretaries, auditors and managers), with emphasis on their responsibilities and liabilities under the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) and the appropriate sanctions for breach of its requirements. It first considers who, in general terms, is an ‘officer’ or ‘manager’ of a company for the purposes of criminal or fiduciary liability. Then it deals with the appointment and qualifications of secretaries and the appointment and reappointment of auditors. There is discussion of auditors’ remuneration, integrity and independence, the required contents of an auditor’s report and an auditor’s investigative powers. There is analysis of an auditor’s liability in contract and tort for negligence in carrying out the audit and negligent misstatement in an auditor’s report. The chapter cites relevant legislation, including CA 2006 and UK Corporate Governance Code, and considers two particularly significant cases: Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 and Stone and Rolls Ltd v Moore Stephens [2009] UKHL 39, [2009] AC 1391.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

2. Corporate personality and limited liability  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter deals with corporate personality and limited liability, two concepts that form the core of company law. It begins with a short historical background on how the process of corporatisation through charters evolved over time, including the emergence of the use of trust as an instrument to confer many of the privileges of incorporation. It then considers the case Salomon v Salomon & Co (1897) which decided on the legitimacy of small businesses with a corporate form, and offers some other good examples of the consequence of separate personality. The chapter also discusses the rights of members and shareholders with respect to ownership of the corporation, focusing on dispersed shareholdings and close companies.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Company Law

8. Corporate Liability: Contracts, Torts, and Crimes  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions and coursework. Each book includes typical questions, suggested answers with commentary, illustrative diagrams, guidance on how to develop your answer, suggestions for further reading, and advice on exams and coursework. This chapter examines company contracts including: pre-incorporation contracts, the company’s capacity, directors’ authority, and restrictions on the powers of directors to bind the company. The chapter also considers liability of the company for tortious and criminal acts, including vicarious liability; attribution; and the particular area of corporate manslaughter and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French, and Ryan on Company Law

17. Company officers, secretary and auditor  

This chapter focuses on company officers (secretaries, auditors and managers), with emphasis on their responsibilities and liabilities under the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) and the appropriate sanctions for breach of its requirements. It first considers who, in general terms, is an ‘officer’ or ‘manager’ of a company for the purposes of criminal or fiduciary liability. Then it deals with the appointment and qualifications of secretaries and the appointment and reappointment of auditors. There is discussion of auditors’ remuneration, integrity and independence, the required contents of an auditor’s report and an auditor’s investigative powers. There is analysis of an auditor’s liability in contract and tort for negligence in carrying out the audit and negligent misstatement in an auditor’s report. The chapter cites relevant legislation, including CA 2006 and UK Corporate Governance Code, and considers two particularly significant cases: Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 and Stone and Rolls Ltd v Moore Stephens [2009] UKHL 39, [2009] AC 1391.