Forum. When criminal proceedings are initiated, the company executives will often ask about the imputation of facts to the legal person, in parallel, or independently from the individuals responsible. It is true that the conditions of questioning the criminal liability of legal persons are paradoxically less demanding than those required for the engagement of the criminal liability of individuals.
If it is difficult to conceive that a legal person can commit an offence, the possibility of instituting criminal proceedings against him exists in France since 1 march 1994. There has to be an increased willingness of the legislature and of the magistrates of empowering a criminal offence for legal persons.
The law Perben II of march 9, 2004
Initially limited to offences provided for “by law or by the regulations,” the criminal liability of legal persons has been extended to all offences by the law Perben II of march 9, 2004. These individuals are criminally responsible for all offences committed, for their account by their organs or representatives ” (article 121-2 of the penal code).
Only the fault of the body or of the representative of the legal person undertakes the responsibility for the latter. The liability is said to be ” by representation “.
Article 121-2 of the penal code stipulates that ” criminal liability of legal persons does not exclude that of natural persons who are perpetrators or accomplices of the same facts, subject to the provisions of the fourth paragraph of article 121-3 “.
These provisions, introduced by the law of 10 July 2000, leading to what in the case of damage caused indirectly and unintentionally by an individual, the latter not to expose him to criminal only if it is established that the person has committed an offence qualified (violation of clearly…