Nov. 9, 2023

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📝La compliance, socle de la confidentialité nécessaire des avis juridiques élaborés en entreprise

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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► Full ReferenceM.-A. Frison-Roche, "La compliance, socle de la confidentialité nécessaire des avis juridiques élaborés en entreprise" ("Compliance, the cornerstone of the confidentiality required for in-house legal opinions"), D. 2023, p.

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📝read the article (in French)

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► English Summary of the article: The French Law about the Ministry of Justice's 2023-2027 Orientation and Programming  ("loi d'orientation et de programmation du ministère de la justice 2023-2027") had introduced into the French legal system the confidentiality of in-house lawyers' opinions (before the  French Constitutional Council, on a question of parliamentary procedure, annulled this disposition, thus leaving the question still open).

 This development is necessary in order to respond to the injunction for companies to comply more and more with the regulations, which is itself only one of the tools of a wider movement: Compliance Law.

This branch of the law, notably through the French so-called Sapin 2 Act of 2016, the French Vigilance Act of 2017 and the European Digital Services Act (DSA), requires companies to implement the necessary means to satisfy the Monumental Goals contained in the laws or regulations. This presupposes, firstly, that companies have information (via alerts, risk mapping, vigilance, sustainability reports, etc.), enabling them to identify their conformity and non-conformity, so that they can, secondly, take effective action to put an end to current breaches, prevent future breaches and achieve the goals set by the Legislator.

This Compliance System requires that the information made available to managers is reliable and honest. However, if non-conformity is not analysed and communicated in a way that is protected by confidentiality, the company will prefer not to know about it and will therefore be unable to take appropriate action, which will deprive the social community of its power to act in the future. This is why the confidentiality of in-house lawyers' opinions is based on the very definition of Compliance Law itself.

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