The addressee of criminal provisions is primarily the individual natural person. Individual defence is therefore a focal point of our daily work.
We defend parties involved in criminal proceedings at every stage of the proceedings with personal dedication, competence and speed, silently and effectively as well as communicatively and discreetly.
There is no corporate crime law in the actual sense. However, §§ 30 and 130 of the German Administrative Offences Act in particular lead to risks in the area of administrative offences, some of which threaten the existence of the company. To avoid or minimise these, we develop practical solutions for companies that are geared to their special needs. Every company should receive the package of measures it needs – not the one for which the most hours can be billed. Naturally, we act transparently with respect to actions and costs.
The validation of entrepreneurial decisions by obtaining external legal advice is necessary for liability reasons. In this respect, we try to bring the client’s entrepreneurial goals and liability law requirements into line with statutory provisions in the best possible way.
We provide well-founded and clear answers. If necessary, we also show alternatives.
The systematic prevention of misconduct by means of guidelines, training and monitoring has become one of the usual requirements imposed on responsible company management. This applies all the more in the case of investigative measures by law enforcement and regulatory authorities for violations of the law committed from within the company.
Legislators are increasingly developing general obligations to be fulfilled for the introduction of compliance programs, and compliance with these obligations must be proven. These requirements, e.g. from the Foreign Trade and Payments Act, also affect small and medium-sized enterprises. However, an SME must also be able to prove that it satisfies the relevant requirements if, for example, large companies require compliance management from their SME business partners.
When designing compliance programs, the specific legal, organisational and economic characteristics of the individual case must always be taken into account. Compliance programs are designed to support and safeguard legitimate business activities, but not to hinder them. Due to our special experience, we are able to resolve the resulting tensions and balance them out appropriately.
Our range of activity covers risk analysis, the elaboration of practicable guidelines and their implementation, the verification of their compliance and reporting to management and supervisory bodies of companies. We are also available as external compliance managers and support the safeguarding of operational business.
Ombudspersons or impartial third parties are an indispensable part of the compliance management systems of many companies today. Some companies and authorities offer anonymous whistleblower portals via the Internet or the company’s own intranet. In contrast to many anonymous reporting systems, an ombudsperson can communicate with the whistleblower personally and outside the company.
As a consequence of the principle of the rule of law, it goes without saying that the rule of law must be observed in the area of public administration. However, these expectations are rarely met by actively structuring the administrative organisation and action. Shortcomings have far fewer liability law consequences for members of the core management than for those responsible for private companies. However, reputational damage affects state institutions in a special way.
Against this background, very special risk situations exist for public-sector companies, which are subject to the constitutional requirements of public law on the one hand and the legal form-related requirements of private law on the other.
We can appropriately develop, introduce and support compliance systems for both core management and for administration organised under private law.
In addition to economic risks, the acquisition of companies always entails a liability risk. The aim of criminal due diligence is to scrutinise the target company with regard to compliance and to prepare the acquisition decision properly. In this respect, we’ve repeatedly contributed our special experience to M&A teams.
Under public procurement law, public contracts may only be awarded to credible and lawful businesses. In the event of violations of the law, there is a risk of exclusion from award procedures. Self-cleaning measures must be carried out in order to regain credibility. You can find more detailed information on this website: www.vergabesperre.de. We provide you with comprehensive support in implementing the self-cleaning measures.
Tax (crime) law offers a unique instrument in criminal law with which a person whose tax evasion has already been completed and whose success has already occurred can retroactively dissociate themselves from this act and thus avoid penalties: The so-called “voluntary disclosure”. Various rules or conditions must be complied with or fulfilled for such a voluntary disclosure to become effective, i.e. for actual exemption from punishment.
We have many years of varied experience in this field and also cooperate with tax lawyers who can contribute their substantive legal expertise to the voluntary disclosure project.
Have your rights been violated in the past or are they currently being violated, but no one is doing anything about it? Are you fighting for your civil claims, which undoubtedly exist but which you cannot prove?
In these or similar situations, it may be helpful to inform the public prosecutor’s office about criminal behaviour of which you have been a victim by filing a criminal complaint and thus initiating an investigation. In addition to the personal satisfaction of restoring justice, such a procedure can also provide you with evidence for civil proceedings: The principle of official investigation applies to the public prosecutor’s office. This means that it must identify all evidence that is incriminating and exculpatory for the accused party or the defendant. You will be given access to this evidence as part of a documentary review that we carry out for you.
It was not until the 2ndVictim Rights Reform Act of 29/07/2009 that witnesses’ right to avail of legal assistance was incorporated as Section 68b in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Nowadays, the selected lawyer always allowed to be present when the witness is being questioned.
We give our clients the security they need in a witness interview by playing through the interview situation with them beforehand and preparing them for the expected situation when dealing with law enforcement authorities or in the courtroom. In addition to information on rights and obligations, this also includes a reference to possible pitfalls and interview techniques of the other parties.
This ultimately works in the interest of all parties to the proceedings: The only good witness is a calm and assured witness!
Even before it was formally incorporated into the German Code of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Constitutional Court had recognized the necessity of the admission of witness assistance (BVerfGE 38,105, 117):
“Not every witness is able to correctly express what they wish to express as their knowledge. Regarding [...] witnesses, the assisting counsel can contribute from their often better knowledge of the witness’s knowledge to avoid testimony errors on the witness’s part and misunderstandings by the parties to the proceedings. Not only can they help the witness to exercise their right to present their knowledge of the matter in context, but they can also assist the witness in defending themselves against attacks which are incompatible with their claim to appropriate treatment and protection of honour, and in avoiding unnecessary questions about dishonourable facts (§ 68a of the German Code of Criminal Procedure) as well as inadmissible, inappropriate and irrelevant questions (§ 241(2) of the German Code of Criminal Procedure). A witness’s answers may result in further consequences for them beyond the limits of the right to testify and the right to silence, such as the issuing of value judgments or the risk of investigations and proceedings for false testimony and perjury. Furthermore, with the help of their assisting counsel, a witness may more easily influence the recording of their testimony, as experience has shown that the interrogator or recording official can do so wrongly.”
Both suspects of a crime and witnesses can be subjected to searches. Searches are usually unexpected and unusual for companies as well as private individuals and even for law firms. Those involved therefore need professional support. We safeguard our clients’ rights by critically monitoring the investigative measures on-site and through efficient communication with the investigating officials. In this way, we can also ease the situation and ensure that the company continues to operate smoothly, especially during a lengthy search.
We offer customised training courses to prepare for emergencies, in which we are available with our emergency service.
Like most legal rules, criminal law norms are abstract. The wealth of life circumstances through which criminal offences can be committed is enormous. In this way, new situations arise on a daily basis which need to be assessed for the first time in legal terms or for which there is no evidence at all to support the previous assessment.
We know this situation and answer your individual questions concretely, credibly and clearly – depending on the question and purpose – with a short note or a detailed expert opinion.