Jan. 8, 2019


Compliance Tools and the Climate theory

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

Pour lire ce document de travail en français, cliquer sur le drapeau français

This working document is the basis for a conference held in Nice on February 4, 2020.
Refer to the presentation of the conference, in particular to the slides which are the support of its presentation.
The working document is also the underlying of the article to appear in the book: Compliance Tools..
Summary of the Working Paper. The link between Law and History is so often emphasized, also between Law and Society, but very little between Law and Geography. Braudel does not have enough emulators in the matter. However Pascal affirmed as an observation that the legal rules are not the same below and beyond the Pyrenees. Montesquieu in the new formulation which he proposes of the Theory of climates, gives to the observation of the variety of systems and their correlation with geography a more normative turn. Human beings would be different according to the regions and by the effect of time a difference of nature appears which implies that one should not conceive the same rule according to the zones of the world. Everyone often talk about Montesquieu and affirms the good idea to return to his conception on the art of designing Law. Why not use this specifif theory  in matters of Compliance Law, globally applied since the climates are so different? All the more if we take more literally the reference to "climate", to different climates and we have in mind the now very strong link between Law and environmental policies on the one hand and the tools of Compliance Law on the other hand (like the so-called "green finance").
If we have to do it with caution, we can already do it as an exercise, if only to test the way we design and apply Compliance tools without ever thinking about the differences in latitude, which are neither hot nor cold to artificial intelligences.
It is certainly with great caution that we should move forward but by expressing more consideration for the essential relationships between Law, Compliance and Geography. This consideration must be not just a simple indicator that ultimately comes in the risk mapping and in the programs compliance, If we pay attention, then firstly this avoids two pitfalls (I). The first is to avoid giving all the space to tools that do not integrate this geographic dimension, by reducing what Compliance itself is. This risk of giving too little importance to the geographic dimension in the design and use of Compliance tools (A) can take three forms. Indeed if we reduce Compliance to being only a "procedure" aiming to mechanically ensure the entreprise "conformity" to "regulation" (1), then this literally meaningless definition can apply everywhere and to everyone. But is Compliance Law just that? It is notably to ignore its normative teleological character. The second exclusion from geographic relevance, which similarly signals a poor vision of Compliance, consists in entrusting the entire mechanics of Compliance to platforms and algorithms, by which machines "talk" and would be able to "develop standards" (2) . If Compliance is only data capture, storage and correlation, this is conceivable. But the "ground" where the weak signals are perceived, memorized, where the standards are "internalized, shows that it varies according to the zones. As such, the idea of" regulation by data ", promoted by many regulations and Regulators deserves be more careful because the information does not make the decision by itself, Compliance Law remaining from Ex Ante with humans who decide for the future. Similarly, Compliance Law takes shape in companies, either all (about corruption, worker security), or those of certain sectors (banks for money laundering) or of a certain size (vigilance mechanisms). When it is assumed that the compliance standards, embodied by internal controls, are the same for all of the locations of the so-called "global" company (3), is this not a somewhat outdated vision of the company? While we question the State, because too hierarchical, this is the board of the company which sometimes imposes via its private regulatory power the same standard, fixed on the West .....
But once alerted on this first type of pitfall is to better guard against another type of pitfall. It is the reverse. Indeed, we must be careful not to give too much importance to the geographic dimension in the design and use that we have of Compliance tools (B).  It is not appropriate to draw boundaries between Compliance systems, since Compliance has given rise to a new Law branch, strongly linked to the phenomenon known as "globalization" (1). However, not only can we observe the permanence of these borders, on which international settlement systems run up, but we note that Compliance Law allows the construction of new walls, against which we could do nothing. While there is a war between exported local Compliances, of which that of the United States is the most conspicuous because its voice carries the most, but it is above all a defeat of the Law, but about which we tends to confuse the part and the whole (2).
Once we have tried to regain our senses a little, it could be possible to classify Compliance tools because the Compliance techniques, as soon as we want them substantial, that is to say built on the goals that their power can actually achieve, have an immense field of action which means that we must at the same time identify general but concrete rules. To find the right relationship between Compliance Law and Geography (II), we can propose a triptych. In the first place, there is undoubtedly what concerns technical information and conservation methods, where we can accelerate by passing stages of development and pass directly to detection techniques, without worrying about keeping in the geographic place what appears there before mais is not useful (A). Then by focusing on the normativity of Compliance, that is to say the different goals pursued, it turns out that some are certainly objectively anchored in the geography of an area, which finds particularly its relevance in terms of environment, but have effects that pass the Pyrenees dear to Pascal, which justifies global compliance requirements, as shown in the case of the Amazon, which is a "crucial object" (B). 
Even more, if we put some hope in Compliance Law and that the monumental goal pursued by it is of a political nature and not only technical, Compliance being what sustains and not what replaces Politics , it is therefore necessary to assume the Ex Ante Responsibility carried by Compliance through the concept of Vigilance. This is taking place. What is yet to be devised is to improve the very definition of what Compliance Tools are ; for the moment, maybe they are too abrupt, too violent. In this, they must be conceived not as violence - however legitimate they may be, but as a "path", which the texts of energy "transition" show us. The company then becomes the supervisor of others to bring them from one state to another, as we can see about invest banking (C). Law as a "path" and not as a prescription, it is Kanak Law which shows us the example.  Sure that Montesquieu would appreciate it. 


comments are disabled for this article