With rapid growth of capitalism today, the companies have risen to a position of dominance that affects the lives of individuals, directly and indirectly. Most of the companies are incorporated under the laws and authorized as a corporation, which is a legal entity that enjoys most of the rights that an individual possesses not only in the private, but also in the public sectors. The corporations cause various deleterious effects through their activities; nevertheless, corporate capacity to commit a crime are denied. The rationale of this treatment is the principle that only a natural person can be considered as a subject of committing an offence under the criminal laws, and therefore a corporation that lacks an intent and body of its own should be denied of its legal subjectivity to act, and of its liability as well. Although there are some mechanisms to punish companies or corporations, other than the natural persons, by using joint penal provisions prescribed in a variety of administrative criminal laws, even they have inherent limitations in that they premise punishment to a natural criminal as prerequisite. Furthermore, it is difficult to identify a specific individual who should be held accountable for an offence inside a complicated corporate structure. Therefore, when it is impossible to identify a specific employee of the company to apply legal sanctions or where there does not exist a specific person to apply punishment, the justice system may produce irrational outcomes that no criminal sanction can be applied to the offence. Particularly, in corporate crimes that cause a large-scale tragedy, such as Sewol ferry disaster and Oxy RB(Reckitt Benckiser)‘s humidifier disinfectants disaster, the subject that creates and controls a dangerous situation due to a lack of safety measure or any other reasons is not a specific individual, but a corporation itself in general, the corporations cannot be held criminally liable of its own under the current legal system. The critics point out this as the fundamental limitation of the system.
While corporations enjoy massive profits through their business operation, they do not take proper legal responsibilities for their illegal activities. To realize justice in society, it is necessary to enforce a prospective legislative measure to punish the corporations at fault, aside from the matter of subjectivity to apply punishment. It is also necessary to consider the aspects of criminal justice policy that the legal system should protect the society from the corporations’ anti-social activities. For this purpose, the system should be refined to message the corporations that the disadvantages suffered from the possible criminal punishments exceed the advantages gained by committing illegal activities. In sum, diversifying the criminal sanctions to prevent the corporate crimes effectively and forfeit the illegal profits is necessary. The types of sanction, which used to be reserved as more serious and careful approach, such as corporate dissolution, compulsory closure or suspension of business, judicial oversight, exclusion from participation in public contract, announcement of the corporation’s violation of the law, and punitive damages, should be adopted, in this context.