Unannounced visits to companies by competition authorities, such as the European Commission and the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, are known as dawn raids. The name comes from the inspectors’ practice of turning up at companies’ premises at the beginning of the business day, when companies are likely to be the least prepared for an unexpected inspection. Armed with appropriate orders and decisions, the inspectors have the power to enter and search business premises, question personnel and take away information, not only in the form of paper files, but also in the form of electronic evidence stored on personal computers, servers and other electronic devices.
When the competition authorities come to a call, even the most robust compliance programmes will be put to the test. Unless you are pre-prepared in practice, several mistakes can be made on how to deal with the demands and questioning of the inspectors or with documents covered by legal professional privilege. The same applies to the initial communication strategy to minimise possible reputational harm. A dawn raid is one of the most intrusive and disturbing experiences that a company can face.
We work with clients to ensure that they are fully prepared for a dawn raid, by:
- advising on and preparing dawn raid guidelines to ensure that personnel at all levels of the organisation understand their respective roles, rights and obligations during a dawn raid,
- conducting “mock dawn raids” on clients’ premises,
- providing on-site training on handling a dawn raid, and
- offering compliance training and education, including Borenius and Edilex Pro Competition Law e-Training.
Why a “mock dawn raid”?
- Tests compliance with the company’s dawn raid guidelines/contingency plan
- Provides training for personnel, in case of a dawn raid by competition authorities
- Provides training for and a greater insight into the behaviour of the key individuals likely to be questioned by competition authorities during a dawn raid
- Increases awareness about the importance of competition law compliance
Having well-prepared personnel who know what to do and, perhaps more crucially, what not to do during a dawn raid is of a paramount importance. Before competition authorities strike, a “mock dawn raid” offers comprehensive training to ensure that your personnel are prepared for the realities of a dawn raid.
Using a bespoke scenario, our team of mock investigators will put a company through its paces in a mock dawn raid. The effectiveness of existing compliance procedures, the level of understanding and attitudes among the management and personnel will be placed under close scrutiny.
Once the “mock dawn raid” has been concluded, we will provide immediate feedback to personnel. We can also prepare a full report, identifying where procedures failed or where they were inadequate, as well as areas of bad practice, and provide practical recommendations to correct the flaws in the dawn raid handling.
In the event of a real dawn raid, companies need immediate legal assistance. We have extensive experience of assisting clients with dawn raids, ensuring a fast response and an efficient support and assistance to protect our clients’ rights during a dawn raid.