Sept. 5, 2023


Working Paper

🚧Moving through Time to align Compliance with the rights of the defence

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full Reference: M.-A. Frison-RocheMoving through Time to align Compliance with the rights of the defenceWorking Paper, September 2023.


📕This working paper has been drawn up as the second part of the book Compliance et droits de la défense (Compliance and the rights of the defence), a first section summarising this book.


📝This Working Paper was drawn up to serve as a basis for this second section, which sets out the general way in which the rights of the defence and the compliance system can be articulated, thank to this movement of moving back in time.


► Summary of this Working Paper: The subject of Compliance & rights of the defence is difficult to pin down because it often gives rise to totally opposing presentations, which express the initial confrontation between Compliance and rights of the defence, which seems irreducible. This initial confrontation must be acknowledged, and this is even more necessary to prevent it from becoming definitive(I)

But in a society governed by the Rule of Law, the rights of the defence are central, and the hierarchy of norms dictates that they remain the privilege of all those who risk being punished in the future. Admittedly, if we look at the course of events in a linear way, the Compliance mechanisms come in Ex Ante, whereas the rights of the defence would only be activated when the repressive procedures would later come to bear on the moral or natural person. The question would therefore not even arise, or not in a central way. But this reasoning creates a false compatibility between Compliance and the rights of the defence (II.

Indeed, it is the perspective of punishment in the future that forms the basis for the attribution of rights of the defence in the present. This consideration of the future not only allows but obliges the Law to "move in time", to always think in advance about what might happen tomorrow: this is how we must think about the Compliance methods of Internal Investigation, the DPA (or in the French legal system the Convention judiciaire d'intérêt public and the French Guilty plea procedure (CRPC) (III). As soon as these Compliance Tools are being used in practice, at the time they are being used, we must already think about how their results will be used, results which they have often been used for, because the Internal Investigation is a formidable piece of Evidence for obtaining a conviction and/or a DPA, etc. : therefore, the rights of the defence must shift over time, from the future to the present of the Information collect.

Two ambiguities that affect Compliance Law itself, ambiguities which the rights of the defence help to clarify, now appear more clearly.  The first concerns the place occupied by the consent of the person who could have been protected by the rights of defence but //who exercises his/her will to renounce them (IV). Consent, in relation to the will of which it is the expression, is also linked with the future and allows Compliance once again to take precedence over the prerogatives of the individual who chooses not to benefit from it. The omnipresence of 'consent' in Compliance is enlightening here... The second ambiguity concerns the place of secrecy (V). Secrecy seems to be the prerogative of the rights of the defence. But it can also be an effective Compliance Tool when Confidentiality enables the company to detect and prevent breaches. It may even constitute the very Monumental Goal of Compliance Law. This happens when the Goal of Compliance Law, in which legal normativity is placed, becomes the protection of the individual, as is the case for personal information. That guides the European Judge, in line with the humanism that underpins European Compliance Law, in finding the right balance, this protection and effectiveness, depending on whether the information must be given or must be not.


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