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“Compliance” is the observance of legal rules and regulations by and within a company. While compliance may be no more than a legal buzzword to some, it has been a serious concern of our clients for many years – and rightly so.

The topic “compliance” is continually becoming more present and relevant: Managers and directors risk being held personally liable in the event that criminal actions detrimental to the company are committed while the company is managed by them. This risk may be avoided or at least minimised by establishing efficient compliance structures. The requirements for such structures depend on the circumstances of the company in question. We would be happy to advise you in this regard, with such advice ranging from analysing the legal risks of your business to establishing customised, reasonably priced and efficient compliance structures for all relevant areas, including employment law, data protection, corruption and antitrust law, as well as customs law. We are able to provide such advice and assistance both in relation to your business, as well as conducting compliance due diligences in connection with the proposed acquisition of other businesses.

The set-up and maintenance of a good compliance management system (“CMS”) reduces the risk of compliance violations and therefore protects businesses and their management from costly lawsuits, extensive damages claims and reputational damage. And even in the case that a violation of applicable compliance rules should already have occurred, a good CMS can significantly contribute to reducing the risk of civil or criminal law liability. Nevertheless, compliance should not only be regarded as a means to avoid liability and minimise risks. A good CMS can enhance the efficiency of an organisation and thus benefit a business in the long term. Furthermore, a sound CMS can motivate employees by providing clear and unmistakable guidelines. In addition, a good CMS can lead to the improvement of company ratings and enable or facilitate the participation in tenders and access to international financing.

Compliance does not stop at a country’s borders. With this in mind, we have founded the “Compliance-Stiftung” (www.compliance-stiftung.com) together with the Swiss law firm Kellerhals and the Austrian law firm bpv Hügel. The foundation aims at promoting compliance to businesses, organisations and individuals even beyond the borders of Germany. At the same time, it enables worldwide networking of and with compliance experts. This is important given that compliance is particularly needed where the observance of laws cannot be taken for granted.

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