Criminal Law

Sanction risks for companies, senior managers and employees

Criminal law should always represent the last resort. Yet with every new reform, sanction risks are increasingly shifting towards concrete rights violations. Everyday business activities are fraught with compliance risks due to the plethora of offences specified in the criminal code and in numerous supplementary laws.

The legislator is also increasingly limiting itself to blanket offences and chains of reference under European and international law. Individuals and companies are increasingly unable to refer to a clear framework of defined acts. Dereliction of duty, negligent or otherwise, is frequently accompanied by sanctions without further substantiation, with severe consequences even in the case of regulatory infraction.

Case law in recent years has also widened the scope of liability risk: failings are being sanctioned under the principal liability of the governing body and the guarantor status of compliance officers and other representatives.

Other risks exist for all participants in the areas of asset recovery, entries in the register, claims for damages and, last but not least, prejudgement in the media.

Criminal law focus
  • Advising and representing companies and individual clients at all phases of criminal proceedings
  • Designing internal audits and investigations that are compliant with data protection legislation for use as clarification aids
  • Assisting during searches, examinations and other investigation measures
  • Filing complaints
  • Legal support for the communications division
Criminal Compliance offers more than defence against sanction

Criminal law advisory not only offers support in investigation proceedings, but is also preventive and independent of cause. As the prosecution is typically composed of specialist lawyers, the defence must also enjoy an equivalent level of expertise.

Yet avoidance of liability is not the only goal of Criminal Compliance. Ideally, decision-making is effectively informed by this perspective, offering a specific insight into processes and areas of individual risk.

The compliance measures themselves must also mitigate the emergence of risk: given the increasing tendency for sanctions on legal entities to be related to revenue, where influence can be substantiated it is becoming more attractive for the prosecuting authorities to extend liability to parent companies. The Compliance Management System should therefore be structured to combat this phenomenon, yet without providing additional arguments.

Compliance focus
  • Risk-oriented development of Compliance Management Systems
  • Legal Tech optimisation of existing policies, guidelines and checklists
  • Training and webinars