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Competition compliance and counseling

Competition authorities around the world have extensive powers to investigate and punish companies and individuals found to have breached competition law, including the power to impose significant fines and bring criminal charges against individuals. Enforcement of competition law has become increasingly global as competition authorities share information and coordinate their activities to tackle anti-competitive conduct across multiple jurisdictions. Companies must respond by putting in place effective compliance measures to prevent and detect anti-competitive activity within their own operations, across every jurisdiction in which they have a presence. Fortunately, Eversheds Sutherland is on hand to help you in this complex and evolving legal area.

Creating a culture of competition law compliance

Having the right culture is critical to an effective compliance program. This requires setting the right tone at the top of the company and filtering it down to all levels within the business. It is essential to have an unambiguous and visible commitment to competition law compliance at board level.

Companies should conduct audits to identify their key competition risks. This ensures that compliance efforts are risk based and that appropriate measures can be identified and implemented to address those risks. This should include putting in place policies and procedures, tailored training and ongoing auditing and monitoring.

How our competition, EU and trade group can help you

Our competition, EU and trade group has extensive experience of working with national and multinational businesses across a wide range of industries to design and implement effective competition law compliance programs. Drawing on our global geographic coverage, we work closely with your business to conduct a risk assessment at local level, devising centrally coordinated measures and then assisting with practical implementation and monitoring on the ground.

We also have extensive experience in counselling businesses on discrete issues and potential arrangements that they may be considering, then working to shape them in a manner that complies with applicable competition law. In the US, we have worked with clients to submit requests for business review letters to the Justice Department and FTC. We have also worked closely with clients on structuring joint ventures, patent licenses and other intellectual property agreements that comply with applicable laws and guidelines.

Avoiding competition law breaches

Putting in place an effective competition compliance program to help avoid a breach is less demanding and cheaper than dealing with a dawn raid or a competition law investigation.

Active and well-managed competition compliance programs can be hugely beneficial in terms of knowledge sharing, risk assessment and as an outward demonstration of management commitment to compliance. Above all, they help to establish and support a company’s overall ethical business agenda. Furthermore, some competition authorities will look favorably on such compliance efforts and are more likely to reward companies that can prove they have a genuine culture of compliance.

Competition law training

Our training skills are recognized as market leading, and the competition arena is no exception. We pride ourselves on simplifying this complex area of law. Our approach is commercial and practical. In face-to-face training, we use interactive case studies and real-life scenarios to bring legal issues to life. We also offer video and award-winning online training tailored to your specific industry and its risks.

Our aim is to ensure that employees understand how competition law applies to what they do every day at work. This means that our programs are written in the language of your business and that they provide clear and unambiguous guidance for your employees.

We have developed a number of products to help you create a culture of compliance:

  • The Competition Law Online Toolkit – this provides an interactive and visual-based learning experience. It uses learning techniques developed with educational psychologists and is ideal for training a large workforce of all levels. Our toolkit is now used in 37 different countries and in 29 languages.
  • The ethics@work online course – like the Competition Law Online Toolkit, this online course offers an interactive and user-friendly training module designed to educate employees at all levels of your organization on the importance of doing their jobs in a responsible and ethical manner.
  • Cartels: a compliance tool for directors – a bite-sized, hard-hitting film following the real-life story of a director who was imprisoned for his role in a cartel. It is designed to highlight to senior management the personal risks they face and why they should take compliance seriously.
  • Mock dawn raids – we carry simulations of dawn raids to test your processes and procedures.
  • User-friendly guidelines on key risk areas – including trade association participation and dealing with the exchange of commercially sensitive information.

Contact our competition compliance team

If you would like any further information or need advice on antitrust and competition compliance matters, please contact our legal advisors.

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