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Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2019

The submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2019 (the Bill) was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Law Council notes that the Bill contains substantially similar provisions to the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017, which lapsed on 1 July 2019 (the 2017 Bill).

Schedule 1 of the Bill would amend the offence of bribery of a foreign public official under section 70.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) and introduce a new offence of failure of a body corporate to prevent foreign bribery by an associate under proposed section 70.5A. Schedule 2 of the Bill seeks to implement a Commonwealth Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) scheme, and Schedule 3 of the Bill seeks to amend the definition of ‘dishonesty’ in the Criminal Code.

The Law Council supports legislation and other measures that effectively address foreign bribery and corruption. Such measures assist in ensuring the integrity and transparency of international business contracts and preventing the exploitation of vulnerable economies and people. This is consistent with Australia’s obligations under international conventions and the Law Council’s participation in the G20 AntiCorruption Working Group and Action Plan.

The need to continually review regulatory and enforcement frameworks as they apply to corporations has also been brought to light following the findings of the Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

This process has highlighted the need to ensure there are adequate frameworks in place to promote early detection and strong deterrence of corporate wrongdoing.

Subject to the issues and concerns raised in this submission being addressed, the Law Council broadly supports the:

However, in relation to the proposed DPA scheme, the Law Council considers a new subsection should be inserted to make it clear that the terms of a DPA do not affect a corporation’s ability to exercise legal professional privilege in respect of material to which privilege applies, and does not contain a formal admission of criminal liability.

You can read the full submission below.
 

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