PhD ceremony: S.N. de Valk, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: Aansprakelijkheid van leidinggevenden. Naar privaatrechtelijke, strafrechtelijke en bestuursrechtelijke maatstaven
Promotor(s): prof. L. Timmerman, prof. D.A. Lubach
De Valk’s thesis examines the circumstances in which managers of legal entities under private and public law can be held liable if the legal entity’s activities are punishable, cause loss to a third party and/or contravene administrative standards. The fact that the legal entity is the primary offender, does not exclude personal liability. The liability of the executive can be regarded as secondary liability. With regard to the criteria for personal liability, broad similarities can be observed between criminal, administrative and private law: liability is only possible if the executive is culpable to a serious degree. Although a certain degree of restraint may be observed in all areas of law, there are slight differences in the criteria for ascertaining secondary perpetration, which are related to the nature of the sanctions and tasks involved. The requirement of grave culpability does not apply if the goal of the sanction is tot ensure compliance with the standard, for example in case of an administrative enforcement or a penalty payment order. Furthermore it is striking that private law, criminal law and administrative law have different ways of dealing with the (sometimes) special position of legal entities under public law, which has effect on the liability of government officials. The immunities in criminal and private case law have different reasons. It has been argued that these should be abolished. The private member’s bill 2006 proposing abolition of (criminal) immunities is therefore the right way forward. In administrative case law immunity has (to date) never been accepted.
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