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Prosecution In Ireland





City, State



Many features are deep and connected to the Irish Criminal Justice System. Among the features, one element is remarkable among different justice systems of other parts of the world. The Ireland Criminal Justice System has remained focused on prosecuting the individuals compared to corporate bodies1. The Criminal judicial body, which is responsible for enforcing punishment and justice to the prosecution of companies, has recently been limited in its scope and effect. Constitutionally, Criminal justice usually plays the role of delivering justice to the people who have committed a specific crime or offense against the law in place.

The Criminal Justice of Ireland is considered an adversing system in Ireland. The side of the prosecution usually against the defense system to develop a case. To achieve such factor, the prosecutor must verify and confirm the issue that the accused is facing to the jury. It is mandated to make approval against the accused and to clear any doubts. The cases of the criminals majorly undergo prosecution under (DPP) on the behalf of thestate.. The Criminal Justice System in Ireland has several downsides2. An excellent example of the downside is that the victim is not considered partly that is direct to proceedings.

Some guidelines are adopted and followed by the prosecutors. The Irish prosecution system has been rooted in the constitution of Ireland and the law of statute in notation, the offenses prosecution act of the year 1974. The Offence Prosecution Act was responsible for establishing the Director of Public Prosecutions. The history of the system of prosecution developed from a tradition of common law. A lot of practices, as well as rules in the Irish, usually have the basis in the common law, which is majorly judge-made law.

The Judicial And Prosecutions Guidelines In Ireland

Article 30.3 of the Ireland Constitution talks of the laws and the regulations related to the Ireland prosecution system and the judicial system. In Ireland, a DPP is in charge of the prosecution system. There is a legal system that is usually followed in the Criminal Justice System of Ireland3. First of all, a crime is reported to the Garda Siochana. After the Crime has been said, a witness statement is usually taken from the victim, and the Gardaí start investigating the Crime.

In serious offenses, Gardaí usually sends over the file to the DPP, and the DPP decides whether to carry out a prosecution or not. In ordinary crimes, Gardaí are responsible for making the decision but under the guidance of the DPP. The DPP in Ireland has a critical task in deciding whether the prosecution should be carried out or not. An accused that has been prosecuted and later found not to be guilty ends up suffering extreme damage. The DPP makes this decision on its own, and neither the Government nor Gardaí can take action, which will make the decision of the DPP to change. This explains why the prosecution of Ireland has majorly remained to carry prosecutions on victims and leave aside the corporate bodies.

A (DPP) in Ireland has several reasons, according to the law, that pushes him to fail to make decisions of not prosecuting any suspect4. The most common reasons as to why a DPP might fail to prosecute are due to lack of substantial evidence. If the evidence is not enough for the Irish court to confirm that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the Court can find it hard for the prosecution to succeed. In other cases, the DPP decides against not prosecuting in circumstances where the offender is below 18 years old. Most of these cases are dealt with in the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

A (DDP) can decide not to make prosecutions on cases where the Adult has been given cautions over the scheme of Adult Cautioning for offenses that are minor or in the public interest and cases where the offender is ill.

Corporate Bodies, Killings, And Recommendations

A law surrounding the corporate bodies has not been followed adequately compared to the prosecution of individual people. In recent times in Ireland, there have been increases in corporate killings and offenses5. According to Carol Coulter (2005), the managers of different organizations, as well as the companies, will be considered liable for manslaughter prosecution, which arises from the deaths which have caused severe negligence. Carol argues that the report, which has been given the name Corporate Killing, does recommend a criminal offense statutory which is new will be responsible for making an Organization accountable for the death that arises from the negligence6.

In Ireland, some circumstances where Organization fails have ended up causing deaths. Carol Coulter makes an observation, and she goes further to list down the kind of scenarios that took place. The first Organization failure happened in the board of the Blood Transfusion Service, where the Organization went further and breached the rules after failing to do enough investigation on complaints and to make a recall of the batches of blood that were contaminated7. In this scenario, a considerable number of people were infected. The Prosecution in Ireland fails to focus its prosecutions on such cases since they lack a single person to held captive for the whole mistake. Most Organizations do have protocols whereby they follow a specific line to come up with a decision. The decisions of a corporate body are made by a team hence failure on the prosecutor’s side to gain enough evidence to conduct a prosecution.

Another severe problem that makes it difficult for the Prosecution system to carry out prosecutions is that it was developed mainly to act on human beings. An offense that is considered severe in the court of law will need a criminal conduct element (actus reus) and a mind which is guilty of a crime (men’s rea).

Companies and Organizations lack these two elements making the law of Ireland struggle to come up with fairways and justice to punish and prosecute the companies found with an offense8. The Government of Ireland is outsourcing different strategic forms, which can be incorporated to punish companies and organizations.

One of the forms which can be adopted is using the identification doctrine process where the senior-most manager of a company acts as the mind of the company. This causes him to be held responsible for the company’s offense since he is the one in control and an overall director. Lord Haldane LC notes that locating the mind of a company is a strenuous process. In his observation, he goes deeper to clarify that the directing mind of the company can be found in that person who may be referred to as the agent. Still, in a deeper meaning, he lies at the center point of the company as he is the ego and the company’s personality. Lord Denning, on the other side, describes the mind of the company as the directors and the managers of the respective company. According to him, he defends the agents and the workers of the company, stating that the agents and the workers are merely considered as the hands of the company.

According to Lord Diplock (199), the will and the director of the company can be found in the Memorandum of Association of a specific company in particular9. In other circumstances, the mind of the company can be gotten through observing the actions of the board of directors as well as the meeting of the shareholders of that specific company. The Identification doctrine has undergone success to be invoked in terms of prosecuting small companies or the companies which only have one manager. For such companies, the law of Ireland finds it easy to pin the companies’ actions to the manager in charge. A good example is a case where a small company and lacked a complicated structure of management was convicted for causing the death of four children who drowned in a canoe.

The manager was prosecuted because he was aware of the safety systems which were put in place were inadequate. Carrying out prosecutions on large organizations and companies in Ireland is not an easy task. Large corporations have a strenuous process of identifying the mind and the will of the company. Their structure of decision-making is also complicated as well as their accountability. The scope of these companies geographically is comprehensive, and the complexity of their transactions can generate some ambiguities. This clearly explains why the office of DPP in Irish is reluctant and less focused in terms of making prosecutions to such organizations. It also goes down to describe the reason why corporate crimes and white-collar crimes continue to increase daily in Ireland. In large companies, as a matter of example, the Managing director cannot be involved in making decisions on all company sectors, so they come up with a method where they form policies where it put some leaders of the company in charge of making small decisions10. In a big organization, it is tough to find managers who are aware of specific choices that are made on the ground. Most offenses are covered up before the Senior Manager finds out. With such situations happening in Ireland big Organizations, the Prosecutor finds it hard to prosecute the company’s Manager since he is not guilty.

The Irish jurisprudence observes an absensitism on the scrutiny of the Judicial system, which is comprehensive under the sentencing on doctrine of identity. However, some situations exists whereby civil cases have been pinpointed to the senior officers of the company11. Several suggestions have been made that in the process of offering license, the acts, as well as omissions and the company’s reputation, could be directly inferred through its management. A company can be considered guilty of an offense if its will and mind are found guilty of the crime. This happens because a company is supposed to act through the actions of its director and mind. The Identification doctrine has not been made clear in Ireland.

According to the Court of Appeal, the doctrine of Identity is taken as most recommended way to ascribe the liability of the criminal for the negligence of manslaughter in the Organizations. According to Rose Li’s argument12, the Identification doctrine was created as a way of avoiding injustice. This is because it will play the role of bringing the law to disrepute; in any case, the act and the mental state of a single employee were linked to a blameless company. Companies in Ireland cannot form a subject to the life sentence, which is mandatory in prison. This sentence means that companies in Ireland are considered not capable of Murder according to Irish law. In contrast, companies can be responsible and may be charged for committing negligence in manslaughter. Several tests have been carried out concerning this misconduct.

Despite the tests being carried out, various reports still show that there has not been any record of a prosecution that turned out to be successful that is being taken against the organizations which have committed these kinds of offenses in Ireland. This factor was taken as a Lacuna in Ireland, and commission reformation of the law recommends an introductory process of the crime for manslaughter, which is corporate. The Manslaughter offense in a standard rule that underwent formulation in a breach of duty, the offense will be punishable to all undertakings13. More profound, it means that the offense will be punishable to all, whether they are a corporate body or mere individuals who have been engaged in the manufacturing, goods distribution, and service provision, whether it is on goods or not. The New recommendation is responsible for setting out a new structured version for the Identity doctrine, majorly for addressing size scope. Identification doctrine was seen to affect in a misappropriating manner the small companies as their directing mind can easily be spotted.

14Another powerful recommendation is that the acts of the superior agents in the corporate bodies should be considered for deciding whether they have breached a duty. They don’t need to be the directing mind of the company as it won’t matter. The Court also will be given the power and freedom to focus on many different factors depending on the regulatory environment of the entity’s operation. If a company undergoes prosecution and convicted of such offenses, then it will be forced to pay an unlimited fine.


Based on the facts tabled, there is an apparent reason why the prosecution in Ireland focuses much on prosecuting the Individuals. If the system continues them without any change or recommendation on the Irish law, then, without doubt, corporate killings will and negligence manslaughter will continue being on the rise. The prosecutor is faced with choosing to prosecute, and he is not allowed to continue to prosecute if he has no enough evidence or fails to identify the suspect who will stand as the accused. Large corporate bodies take time to find the directing mind. Still, if the Government decides to carry out many reformations which have been proposed in this paper, then it will be easier for the office of the prosecution of Ireland to focus both on the prosecution of individuals as well as prosecution of the organizations, whether small or big.


Anny, A. Principles of Criminal Law, 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Almond, P (2013). Corporate Manslaughter and Regulatory Form. Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan

Coulter, C (2005). Law Report Proposes Offence of Corporate Manslaughter. The Irish Times.

Retrieved 20th October 2005. www.irishtimes.com.cdn.ampproject.org

Drummond, A. An Investigation into the official data sources and collection methods. Available at:


Gilbert, J. “Corporate Criminality: Four Models of fault’, Legal studies 14:393-410

Field, S & Luther, J. Are Directors getting away with Manslaughter? Emerging trends in Prosecutions for Corporate Manslaughter’, Business Law Review 35: 158-163

Mcloughlin, C & Reynolds, K (2018). Business Crime. Retrieved 26th Sept 2018. www.mondaq.com

Wells, C. Corporate and Criminal liability; a ten-year review’, Criminal law review, 12:849-78

  1. Junior, Golbert.” Corporate Criminality: Four Models of fault’, legal studies, 14:393-410↩︎

  2. Abel, Drummond. An Investigation into the official data sources and collection methods. Available at:


  3. Abel, Drummond. An Investigation into the official data sources and collection methods. Available at:


  4. Claire Mcloughlin & Karen Reynolds. Business Crime. Retrieved 26th Sept, 2018. www.mondaq.com↩︎

  5. Junior, Golbert.” Corporate Criminality: Four Models of fault’, legal studies, 14:393-410↩︎

  6. Carol gives an insight into the issue of manslaughter and corporate killings in the Ireland state.↩︎

  7. Carol, Coulter. Law report proposes offence of corporate manslaughter. The Irish times. Retrieved 20th oct, 2005


  8. Anny, Ashwarth. Principles of Criminal Law, 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.↩︎

  9. Lord Diplock gives an insight over identifying the directing minds of companies in case of a crime associated with the company.↩︎

  10. Peter Almond. Corporate Manslaughter and regulatory reform. Basingstoke(2013): Palgrave Macmillan↩︎

  11. Junior, Golbert.” Corporate Criminality: Four Models of fault’, legal studies, 14:393-410↩︎

  12. Rose Li argues over the different concepts revolving in the identification doctrine as well as the corporate killings.↩︎

  13. Salvanna, Field and Luther, Jones. Are Directors getting away with Manslaughter? Emerging trends in prosecutions for corporate manslaughter’, Business Law Review, 35: 158-163↩︎

  14. Charles, Wells. Corporate and Criminal liability; a ten year review’, Criminal law review , 12:849-78↩︎

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