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Retribution and Corporate Crime
Criminal Law Bulletin (2006)
  • Kam C. Wong

This paper explores the issue of whether the retribution theory can be applied as a justification for or as an assessment of corporate criminal punishment.

The fact that the white-collar criminals are being treated more leniently is no longer in doubt. The only question is whether the disparity in treatment is justified or more to the point whether it is fair? Issues of fairness in punishment are properly the concerns of retributionists. Ultimately, the question that needs to be answer is: on account of our understanding of the retribution theory what punishment properly fits corporate crimes and criminals? More generally, does retribution theory help us in setting punishment for the corporate criminals? This paper is devoted these issue.

The major thesis of this paper is that the retribution theory of punishment cannot be made to apply to corporate criminals without some very major revisions to its underlying premises. Particularly, this author observes that there are conceptual as well as practical problems in applying the retribution theory to the corporate context.

The retribution theory developed as a justification and assessment of individual criminal responsible and liability in historical time and under primitive social conditions is not well suited to the evaluation of complex, dynamic, and collective conduct in the modern world. Corporation criminality and punishment is best debated in the political arena and more appropriately attend to in the legislative process, than by the retributionists.

  • Theory of Punishment,
  • White Collar Crime,
  • Kant,
  • Retribution,
  • Corporate Sentencing,
  • Corporate Crime
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kam C. Wong. "Retribution and Corporate Crime" Criminal Law Bulletin Vol. 32 Iss. 4 (2006)
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