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► Full Reference: M.-A. Frison-Roche, "Le juge, l'obligation de compliance et l'entreprise. Le système probatoire de la Compliance" ("The judge, the compliance obligation, and the company. The Compliance probationary system"), in M.-A. Frison-Roche (ed.), La juridictionnalisation de la Compliance, coll. "Régulations & Compliance", Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC) and Dalloz, 2023, p 409-442.
📝read the article (in French)
🚧read the bilingual Working Paper which is the basis of this article, with additional developments, technical references and hyperlinks
📕read a general presentation of the book, La juridictionnalisation de la Compliance, in which this article is published
► Summary of the article (done by the Journal of Regulation & Compliance): the article aims to identify the link that must be established between the company in its relationship with the compliance obligations it assumes and the judges to whom it is accountable in this respect: this link is established by evidence. The evidentiary system of proof has yet to be constructed, and it is the purpose of this long study to lay the groundwork.
To this end, the article begins with a description of what is designated here as the "probatory square" in a "probatory system" that is superimposed on the system of rules of substantive legal system. This is all the more important because Compliance seems to be in frontal collision in its very principles with the general principles of the evidentiary system, in particular because it seems that the company would have to prove the existence of the Law or that it would have to bear in a definitive way the burden of proving the absence of violation, which seems to be contrary not only to the presumption of innocence but also to the principle of the freedom of action and of undertaking. In order to re-articulate Compliance Law, the obligations of compliance which legitimately weigh on the company, it is necessary to return to the probatory system specific to Compliance, so that it remains within the Rule of Law. This presupposes the adoption of a substantial definition of Compliance, which is not only compliance with the rules, which is only a minimal dimension, but implies that Compliance Law should be defined by the Monumental Goals on which the public authorities and the companies are in substantial alliance.
The evidentiary system of principle makes play between its four summits that are the burden of proof, the objects of proof this evidentiary square of principle, between the burden of proof, the means of proof and their admissibility. Compliance Law does not fall outside this evidential square, thus marking its full membership of the Rule of Law
In order to lay the foundations of the evidential system specific to Compliance Law, the first part of the article identifies the objects of proof which are specific to it, by distinguishing between the structural devices, on the one hand, and the expected behaviours, on the other. The first involves proving that the structures required to achieve the Monumental Goals of Compliance have actually been put in place. The object of proof is then the effectiveness of this implementation, which presents the effectiveness of the system. As far as behavioral obligations are concerned, the object of proof is the efforts made by the company to obtain them, the principle of proportionality governing the establishment of this proof, while the systemic efficiency of the whole reinforces the evidential system. However, the wisdom of evidence lies in the fact that, even though the principle remains that of freedom of evidence, the company must establish the effectiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness of the whole, independently of the burden of proof.
The second part of the article concerns those who bear the burden of proof in Compliance Law. The latter places the burden of proof on the company in principle, in view of its legal obligations. This burden comes from the legal origin of the obligations, which blocks the "round of the burden of proof". But in the interference of the different vertices of the evidentiary square, the question becomes more delicate when it comes to determining the contours of the compliance obligations that the company must perform. Moreover, the burden of proof may itself be the subject of proof, just as the company's performance of its legal obligations may also be the subject of contracts, which brings us back to the evidentiary system ordinarily applicable to contractual obligations. The situation is different when it comes to a "compliance contract" or when it comes to one or more compliance stipulations, concepts that are still not very well developed in Contract Law.
Furthermore, as all branches of Law belong to a legal system governed by the Rule of Law, other branches of law interfere and modify the methods and solutions of proof. This is the case when the fact, which is the object of proof, can give rise to a sanction, the Law of repression imposing its own solutions in the matter of the burden of proof.
In the third part of the article, the relevant means of proof in Compliance Law are examined, used in that Compliance Law is above all a branch of Law whose object is on the one hand information and on the other hand the Future. Open questions remain, such as whether companies could be forced by the Judge to build technologies to invent new means of proof. To show that they are indeed achieving the Monumental Goals they are charged with.
In the fourth part, the vital character of the pre-constitution of evidence is shown, which is the reflection of the Ex-Ante nature of Compliance Law: evidence must be pre-constituted to avoid the very prospect of having to use it, by finding all the means to establish the effectiveness, efficiency and even the effectiveness of the various Compliance Tools.
If companies do all this methodically, the Compliance evidence system will be established, in harmony with the general evidence system, Compliance Law and the Rule of Law.