After months of challenging investigative conditions for competition authorities in Europe due to the pandemic, health restrictions are now being progressively relaxed and some competition authorities are already beginning to initiate dawn raids in order to reduce the backlog. Since the summer, a number of raids have been conducted by European competition authorities. On 12 October 2021, the European Commission conducted dawn raids in several EU Member States and on 22 October the Commission’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented that these inspections were "just the start of a series of raids that we’re planning for the months to come".
Companies should therefore be prepared for unannounced inspections. There is still much speculation about the way dawn raids will be carried out in the post-lockdown environment, given that competition authorities have developed a number of additional tools such as “remote inspections”. The latter are considered particularly appropriate to a situation where home-office working remains the rule in many companies, but they raise highly sensitive issues. It will therefore be important to adapt preparedness training and response procedures to this new reality, as well as to be aware of several recent judgments of the European Courts.
We have designed a highly practical session for in-house competition and compliance lawyers that will provide an update on the latest developments across Europe. We will, in particular, share our experiences on the best way to organise a dawn raid response in a fast evolving landscape. The session will cover:
- Digital dawn raids in practice v. protection of private data and legal privilege;
- Post-Covid changes in the way inspections are handled, notably with the development of home-office working;
- What are “remote inspections” in practice and will we see them developing?
- Access to detailed connection data: existing procedures and potential for extension in other jurisdictions.
These events are invitation-only, and will be held as live, in-person sessions. For additional information, please email Maren Zille at firstname.lastname@example.org or Frankie Flower at email@example.com.
16 November 2021: Paris
24 November 2021: London