Extraterritorial Impact of New UK Corporate Criminal Liability Laws

Key provisions of this Act came into force on 26 December 2023 and could affect businesses around the world. It is therefore essential to have a clear understanding of the new laws and what they could mean for your organisation. Following intensive debate, King Charles III gave royal assent to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (“ ECCTA ”) on 26 October 2023. As we set out in our client alert of 18 September 2023, [1] and in an article for Börsen-Zeitung of 25 November 2023, [2] the UK Government has described the corresponding bill as the most significant reform of the “ identification doctrine ”, which governed the attribution of criminal liability to corporate entities for more than 50 years. Key Takeaways The new laws governing how criminal liability can be attributed to a corporate entity for economic crimes apply to offences from 26 December 2023 onwards. The ECCTA states that the actions of senior managers can be attributed to the corporate entity. The definition of senior managers is broad. The new offence of failure to prevent fraud, which only applies to large organisations, cannot come into force until guidance is published. It is anticipated guidance will be published in the course of 2024. The new laws governing attribution and the new offence of failure to prevent fraud can apply to non-UK corporate entities and to conduct outside the UK. UK law enforcement agencies may use these laws to cooperate closely with foreign agencies. The principle of double jeopardy may not necessarily prevent prosecutions in multiple jurisdictions. International companies should consider the practical steps outlined in this client alert, including identifying which officers and employees might fall within the definition of senior managers , assessing the extent to which they are exposed to risk of fraud, […]

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By Donato