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Abstract

The most obvious way for a corporation to resist compulsory production of documents that contain evidence of potential misconduct is to claim that production may tend to incriminate the company. Until recently, it was assumed that corporations were entitled to claim the privilege against self-incrimination; the High Court never having expressed a conclusive opinion on the question. In EPA v Caltex, however, a narrow majority of the Court held that the focus of the privilege is to prevent abuses of personal freedoms and individual human rights, and therefore, that the privilege has no application to corporate entities. It also endorsed a wide interpretation of statutory powers to compel production. This note examines the Caltex decision and assesses its implications for white-collar crime investigation and enforcement.

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