4.2 The impact of globalisation on corporate accountability for industrial incidents
Criminal accountability for corporate deaths invariably applies only to deaths which occur within that jurisdiction and does not have extra-territorial effect. So, for instance, MNEs operating abroad cannot be held accountable under the 2007 Act for deaths that occur outside the UK. This highlights the fact that, as globalisation progresses, the effectiveness of individual jurisdictional safeguards for corporate malpractice are in danger of being diluted, as commercial activity can be moved to a jurisdiction with less onerous legal regulation.
In recent years more countries have recognised domestic civil liability for corporate torts committed abroad. This enables litigation to take place in the ‘home’ jurisdiction of the business organisation even where the act or omission occurred in a country in the developing world. For instance, in the case of Trafigura the alleged victims of the dumping of toxic waste in Sierra Leone brought a class action against the UK-registered oil company in the High Court in the UK.