On 1 June 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division published updated guidance on the ‘Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programmes’ (Guidance) to reflect its evolving view of the adequacy and effectiveness of the Corporate Compliance Programmes (CCP). Besides prosecutors, the guidance has been used by general counsels, compliance officers of companies to design and implement a compliance programme that is considered ‘adequate and effective’ when an investigation arises.
This guidance was last updated in April 2019, which organised various elements of an effective CCP under three fundamental questions: 1) is the compliance programme well designed? 2) is the programme being implemented effectively and in good faith? 3) does the compliance programme work in practice?
The 2020 updates to the DOJ guidance is a clear call to move away from ‘tick-in-the box’ compliance. It has become imperative for companies to understand that a good design will not sail through if it fails in practical application.
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