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► Référence complète: Frison-Roche, M.A., Appréciation du lancement d'alerte et de l'obligation de vigilance au regard de la compétitivité internationale (" ("Assessment of Whistleblowing and Vigilance Duty with regard to international competitiveness"), in Benzoni, L., Deffains, B. et Frison-Roche, M.-A.(dir.) , Effectivité de la Compliance et Compétitivité internationale("Compliance Effectivity and International Competitiveness"), seminar co-organised by the Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and the Centre de recherche sur l'Économie et le Droit (CRED) of the Panthéon-Assas University, November 4, 2021.
►This intervention is thematic ; it is articulated with those more general carried out in introduction by Bruno Deffains particularly focused on the necessarily global scope of Compliance and in conclusion by Laurent Benzoni on Compliance as a potential new pillar of industrial policy, the whole of the colloquium having been conceived by the three of us.
📅 this scientific event is part of the 2021 colloquia cycle, organized by the Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and its Universities partners, on the general theme of Compliance Monumental Goals.
► Conference Summary: First of all and independently of the technical topic itself which, as the slides show, is focused on these two techniques based on Information which are the Whistleblowing and the Vigilance duty, it is essentiel to pose that the techniques themselves are conceived totally differently depending on whether Compliance Law is conceived as a mechanical process and totally binding to fully comply with all applicable regulations and to demonstrate it in advance, under the threat of terrible fines, this definition being the both completely frightening and meaningless since what these applicable regulations contains is irrelevant, in which case the prospect of competitiveness boils down to notions of costs and also procedural considerations of foreseeability and legal certainty; or if Compliance Law is conceived as a new and substantial branch of Law Ex Ante developed to detect and prevent the systemic crises being before us, of which the climate crisis is unfortunately the epigone and which requires above all Action, an action of such magnitude which requires the alliance of all forces, that of States, companies, courts and people, in a renewal of concepts, particularly legal ones, and in the indifference of territories, which puts Compliance immediately at its right level: the world, because the scientifically emerging crisis is global, the so-called "extraterritoriality" theme now being misnamed. From this new general conception, the Vigilance obligation, about which so much was said when it was imposed in France in 2017, is the advanced point, soon taken up in Europe and whose scope must be naturally global, because that Compliance Law is consubstantially global.
Taking up more technically the legal techniques of Compliance and confronting them with the Competitiveness of firms, it is necessary that these Compliance Tools do not harm this Competitiveness because Compliance Law , supporting immense ambitions, can only function through an alliance between political wills (with great pretensions, i.e. save the planet) and the entities which are able to concretize them (the crucial economic operators): the Compliance tools designed by legal systems must preserve the companies which put them in place and never favor their competitors.
On the basis of this principle, it is possible to assess these two legal techniques, namely the whistleblowing and the Vigilance duty, which both capture Information, which, as such, gives them a uniqueness and places them in the global Competition for Information.
Taking the whistleblowing first, it appears that its first beneficiary is the company itself since it discovers a weakness and can therefore remedy it. This is why, beyond the principle of protection of the whistleblower by the access of somebody to the legal statute conceived in France by the law known as "Sapin 2", it is criticized that all the incentives are not used for that the holder of such information transmits it to the manager and that the same law continues to require the absence of financial counterpart, the "heroic figure of the whistleblower and the refusal of his remuneration depriving the company of a means information and improvement. The American solution is better and tt is regrettable that the law transposing the European Directive maintains this ineffective conception. But French legislation has on the contrary developed the right incentive as to the person whom the information must be transmitted to is the manager, then externally if the latter does nothing. The solution is better that the American solution because the incentive is thus made to push the internal manager to act and put an remedy to the internal dysfunction, which increases the competitiveness of the company.
Even more, even if it seems counter-intuitive, the French Vigilance Duty greatly increases the competitiveness of the companies which are subject to it. Indeed, the 2017 Law by obliging them to prevent and fight against human rights and environment violations has tacitly given them all the necessary powers to do so, in particular the power to capture Information on third-party companies, including ( and even above all) those which are not subject to transparency obligations. In this, companies, insofar as they are personally responsible, hold a supervisory power over others, a power which allows Compliance Law to globalize and which, in the process, increases their own power. This is why the obligation of vigilance is in many respects a boon for the companies which are subject to it. The resumption of the mechanism by the next European Directive, itself indifferent to the territory, will only strengthen this global power on other firms, even foreign ones.
► This conférence et le document de travail servent de base à un article dans un ouvrage :
📝This conference and the Working Paper constitute the basis for an article: