Category Archives: Fraud

Did the UK Supreme Court Make Progress on the Central Dilemma of White-Collar Crime?

by Samuel W. Buell

On October 25, 2017, the United Kingdom Supreme Court issued a fascinating and potentially groundbreaking opinion, in a civil suit for contract breach called Ivey v. Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd.[1]  As this post will explain, the UK Supreme Court refined a major component of English law of white-collar crime, while purporting to relegate that component to the dustbin.

The central problem in the substantive criminal law of white-collar offenses—an issue I have pursued in much of my scholarship (here, here, here, and here, for example)—is how the law draws lines between seriously morally wrongful business practices and those that are acceptable, even if, in hindsight, regrettably unwelcome.  The perennial challenge is to draw lines that are sufficiently clear to warn potential wrongdoers of criminal sanctions and that mark out only serious wrongdoers for imprisonment, while crafting those lines to be sufficiently broad and flexible to apply, and thus be effective, in an ever accelerating and more complex industrial world. Continue reading