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Improving the legal regulation of organisations by re-assessing the requirements of responsibility in the corporate context

Price, LA; (2016) Improving the legal regulation of organisations by re-assessing the requirements of responsibility in the corporate context. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

My thesis aims to improve the modes through which corporate responsibility is attributed. Doing so is essential to facilitating corporate liability doctrines that are capable of responding to and regulating corporate power. Corporate responsibility is often treated as an analogue of human responsibility, with a necessary condition of corporate liability often thought to be corporate intentional action. Such a requirement places substantial conceptual and practical limits on the reach and effectiveness of corporate liability, as the legal entity of an organisation appears to lack the necessary characteristics and capacities. However, such insistence on intentional action as a prerequisite for responsibility is misguided. An analysis of the practice of responsibility in which corporate responsibility attributions are situated reveals that responsibility can be attributed, and liability imposed, in a way that responds to the full extent of corporate misconduct. Responsibility attributions matter because of the expressive, moral, and legal responses they facilitate, and the practice of responsibility enables more than just individual acts to fill this role. The status of responsible agent within the practice of responsibility is a consequence not just of human action, but also agents’ traits. Organisations possess responsible traits in their corporate structures. They are more than just legal creations. They are employers, holding authority over the individuals working within their bounds. Employees are subjected by the organisation, as their employer, to a system of work, and inherent in this system are structures that impose pressures and constraints upon members of the organisation. Whether formally expressed or not, corporate structure determines the direction and boundaries of behaviour within its confines. The corporate traits of structure, through directing action, attract attributions of responsibility and liability. Organisations become responsible in their own right. Responsibility attributions can account for the responsibility of organisations. As is evidenced through examination of the English law of corporate manslaughter, such an understanding of responsibility enables the introduction of legal responses with broader relevance and applicability, and greater conceptual coherence.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Improving the legal regulation of organisations by re-assessing the requirements of responsibility in the corporate context
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474636
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