Criminal Compliance

Compliance“" means the entirety of a company's organizational measures aimed at ensuring the lawful conduct of the company's executives and employees in the performance of their activities for the company in order to avoid legal risks.

Criminal Compliance focuses on the risk of individual or collective exposure to criminal liability.

Criminal compliance is not just a commandment of good corporate governance and sound economic sense. The obligation of the company's executives to take appropriate organizational measures to avoid criminal acts also results from statutory provisions, in particular § 130 German Administrative Offenses Act (OWiG). The breach of these obligations may lead to substantial fines which may be inflicted on the company's executives (§ 130 OWiG) as well as the company itself (§ 30 OWiG). These fines are independent of any further sanctions for criminal or administrative wrongdoing.

In our view, a systematic approach to criminal compliance typically involves three elements:

  1. identifying the company's specific risks of exposure to criminal liability (risk analysis),
  2. assessing these risks, for example regarding their extent and their probability of occuring (risk assessment) and
  3. creating measures to reduce those risks (risk minimization).

In our experience, the minimization of risks includes in particular:

  • providing a general code of conduct
  • introducing clear responsibilities and rules
  • establishing suitable control mechanisms
  • Providing specific instructions to employees and monitoring their compliance
  • creating an internal reporting system, possibly a compliance officer
  • implementing appropriate sanctions for violations
  • documenting compliance measures
  • prior preparation of crisis management for the event of criminal incidents.

We advise on these general requirements of criminal compliance and on the resulting specific requirements in individual cases. To conduct more elaborate and particular compliance measures, we work with experienced and proven service providers.