This is a single section from Chapter 21. Read the full chapter here.

Who should be punished?

Legislation must identify who will be liable to criminal conviction and in what circumstances they will be liable.


Criminal liability may be imposed on an individual or body corporate. Where a body corporate is liable, officials must consider whether directors or employees of that body may also be subject to criminal liability and in what circumstances. Where an individual is liable, a question is whether other individuals, who may have participated in the offending in some way, should be subject to liability.

A range of statutory mechanisms exist to achieve this. The PCO can provide advice on the most suitable option.

Sometimes the liability is imposed on parties as a matter of convenience, usually at the low level of infringement offences (for example, parking offences are committed by the owner of the vehicle, not the driver, irrespective of who parked the vehicle). However convenience alone is insufficient; there must be other reasons to justify the imposition of liability on a person who did not commit the prohibited act.

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