What is Compliance?
The term "compliance" is now widely used. The decisions made by the BGH in regards to the so-called Berlin street cleaning scandal (BGHSt 54, 44; BGH, NJW 2009, 2900; BGH, NStZ 2009, 342) can be regarded as the trigger for the current compliance debate. However, "compliance" is not legally defined in German law. Literally translated, it means "compliance with standards" and thus actually describes a self-evident fact.
Ultimately, however, compliance means more, namely the totality of measures designed to ensure the lawful conduct of a company, its executive bodies and employees with regard to all legal and internal rules and prohibitions. The managers of a company - regardless of whether it is a major company, a medium-sized company or a small business - must organise business operations in such a way that neither the entrepreneur nor the employees commit offences and/or misdemeanours or infringements regarding official permits. The goal of compliance is therefore to minimize (often criminal) liability risks by establishing processes to detect and eliminate legal violations. Meanwhile there are - independently of the BGH decisions quoted above - different approaches for the establishment of the concept of compliance in the German legal system, e.g. the proposal of the German Institute for Compliance e.V. based on §§ 30, 130 OWiG and §§ 30, 130 OWiG for the creation of a so-called "Compliance Act" or the legislative proposal of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to create a law to introduce criminal liability for companies and other associations (Verbandsstrafgesetzbuch - VerbStrG) (www.justiz.nrw.de). Regardless of whether and what legislative measures there may be in the future with regard to "compliance", entrepreneurs already have comprehensive organisational responsibility for their company as described above.
Our Principles for Compliance Consulting
With this in mind, we are convinced that the basic prerequisite for effective compliance consulting is a profound understanding of entrepreneurial action, complex economic interrelationships in the national and international markets, as well as a wide variety of legal areas and regulations. As the firm considers itself to be an enterprise and has many years of experience in advising companies from various industries and can draw on a functioning network of national and international experts - lawyers, tax consultants, auditors, expert witnesses - we claim this competence. We act - depending on the risk and requirement profile - creatively and practically and try to provide you with the best possible legal protection without, however, focusing on purely defensive legal advice. Only on this basis can legal solutions be found that support and promote your business rather than limit it.
Tools for Compliance Consulting
The tools used in compliance consulting are individual and multi-layered. They have to be adapted to the respective company and the concrete objective and include, for example, strictly confidential trade secrets which are always in the foreground, conversations with a small, selected group of individuals or broadly based interviews with employees, review and evaluation of files and documents, legal analysis of the actions of competitors as well as the relevant development of legal literature and jurisdiction, etc. Possible approaches include the drafting of organisational and work instructions, the revision of QM manuals, the revision of contracts and the drafting of new contract models, employee training, legal opinions, etc.
Contact us. We will be happy to discuss the right compliance concept with you personally.