Corporate and white-collar crime in Ireland

A new architecture of regulatory enforcement

Author: Joe McGrath

This is the first definitive examination of the practice of corporate regulation and enforcement from the foundation of the Irish State to the present day. It analyses the transition in Ireland from a sanctioning, ‘command and control’ model of corporate enforcement to the compliance-orientated, responsive regulatory model. It is also unique in locating this shift in its broader sociological and jurisprudential context. It provides a definitive account of a State at a critical stage of its economic development, having moved from an agrarian and protected society to a free-market globalised economy which is trying to cope with the negative aspects of increased corporate activity, having experienced an economic boom and depression in a remarkably condensed period of time.

Traditionally, corporate wrongdoing was often criminalised using conventional criminal justice methods and the ordinary police were often charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law. Since the 1990s, however, the conventional crime monopoly on corporate deviancy has become fragmented because a variety of specialist, interdisciplinary agencies with enhanced powers now address corporate wrongdoing. The exclusive dominance of conventional crime methods has also faded because corporate wrongdoing is now specifically addressed by a responsive enforcement architecture, taking compliance orientated and sanctioning approaches, using both civil and criminal enforcement mechanisms, where criminal law is now the sanction of last resort.

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‘Joe McGrath's study of the regulation of corporate and white-collar crime in Ireland is timely and important...What emerges is an impressive, context-sensitive account of policy change which links legal forms to cultural, social and historical factors in an enlightening and insightful way.'
Paul Almond, University of Reading
Dublin University Law Journal
May 2016

‘Not only is Dr McGrath's work topical, it is essential...Dr McGrath's work provides an invaluable record of Ireland's experience of corporate and white-collar crime. It is a fascinating read insofar as it serves to remind us of corporate, and indeed, political, scandals of the past and the inadequacies displayed by the State in responding to them. Dr McGrath deserves to be commended for his sedulous treatment of his subject. This book should be the vade mecum for our Government when considering whether the architecture of enforcement in this jurisdiction is robust. The question that remains is whether any such consideration will be undertaken and, if undertaken, conducted comprehensively.'
Shelley Horan, Barrister-at-Law, Law Library
Irish Business Law Review
May 2016

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