18 July 2014 – On 25 June, 2014, the French Cour de cassation strengthened external legal counsel’s rights during dawn raids in the course of competition investigations. The court annulled numerous dawn raids that had taken place at a bank’s premises in early 2008. It substantiated the aforementioned decision in that investigators had “created obstacles” to external legal counsel. Consequently, the Supreme Court upheld the fundamental right of assistance by external legal council from the beginning of a competition investigation. Given principle has been acknowledged by the European Court of Justice in its judgment ‘Dow Iberia vs. Commission’ (case numbers 97/87, 98/87, and 99/87) on 17 October 1989. In legal terms, the French Supreme Court confirmed its own judgment dating 13 March 2013, according to which corporate entities have the right to external legal assistance at all stages of competition investigations, including the course of preliminary investigations. Click here for the decision of the cour the cassation dating 25 June 2014. Click here for the judment of the ECJ Click here for the decision of the cour the cassation dating 13 march 2014. By Dr. Nicolai Behr and Alexander Friedrich
Nicolai Behr is a compliance and dispute resolution attorney in Baker & McKenzie’s Munich office. He is a member of the steering committee of GlobalComplianceNews, a compliance news website with global reach moderated by Baker & McKenzie. He is a member of the committee "International" of the German Institute for Compliance. Dr. Behr is a regular speaker on compliance and white collar topics.