Corporate fraud is widespread in commercial life, harming consumers, fair traders and society as a whole. Yet too often large and powerful organisations are structured to allow them to avoid or limit responsibility, to hide behind excuses of ‘system errors’ and ‘miscommunications’.
The problem is that the law’s armoury against fraud is aimed at natural persons, and requires proof of a blameworthy state of mind. But corporations have no natural mind or conscience and the law’s traditional rules that identify the corporate state of mind are no longer ‘fit for purpose’ in the modern age.
This project is led by Professor Elise Bant at the UWA Law School and is funded by the Australian Research Council: Future Fellowship Project FT190100475.
1. Develop new theoretical and doctrinal models (the ‘models’) that overcome the current ‘state of mind’ and ‘attribution’ hurdles to holding corporations liable for fraudulent conduct.
2. Test models against paradigm cases that currently frustrate effective regulation, drawing on insights of an established network of stakeholders and eminent panel of experts
3. Contribute to law reform within the Australian regulatory system through the development of detailed proposals that will identify, explain and justify the interpretive adjustments and wholesale changes to existing general law and legislation necessary to realise the models; and
4. Develop rigorous, practical litigation guides that will assist regulators and victims to allege and prove the models of fraud against corporate wrongdoers.