Centre for Health Law and Society Research Seminar: Failure to prevent Harms and Attributions of organisational Liability

On 16 October 2019, the Centre for Health Law and Society will host Dr Penny Crofts for a CHLS research seminar on her paper, ‘Failure to prevent Harms and Attributions of organisational Liability’.


There is a huge body of academic literature articulating the difficulties of prosecuting corporate malfeasance. There is recognition that the 19th century common law approach of the identification principle does not adequately respond to contemporary challenges of organisational culpability. The larger an organisation, the more capable it is of causing systemic harms, and yet the less likely it is to be held criminally liable. A recent response in the UK has been to develop an indirect form of omissions liability by criminalising the failure to prevent. This paper draws on case studies from the Australian Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission, Banking Royal Commission and current Aged Care Royal Commission to analyse how and why the failure to prevent comes about in large organisations. This then forms the basis for an account of how and why the failure to prevent can be sufficiently blameworthy to justify the imposition of criminal sanctions, i.e., a normative account of culpability.

Speaker biography

Doctor Penny Crofts is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney. She is an international expert on criminal law, models of culpability and the legal regulation of the sex industry. Her research is cross-disciplinary, drawing upon a range of historical, philosophical, empirical and literary materials to enrich her analysis of the law. Penny is currently researching the project Rethinking Institutional Culpability: Criminal Law, Philosopher and Horror, funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA. 

Event details

Date: 16 October 2019
Time: 11am – 12.30pm (lunch will be provided)
Venue: Room 241, Martin Building, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086.
Cost: Free.


If you wish to attend the Research Seminar, please register via our Eventbrite page.

La Trobe