In this article, partner Nathalie Jalabert-Doury summarises recent developments in inspections and dawn raids, including dawn raids in private homes, the development of so-called "remote" inspection tools and finally case laws on data and privacy protection.
For many months, competition inspections have been impossible, at a time Competition Authorities were concerned about potential practices on scarce products and medical supplies and more largely about the impact of crisis on coordination risks. In addition, and for quite some time now, Competition Authorities have seen a sharp decrease in leniency applications almost everywhere, calling for additional detection tools. The inability to perform dawn raids therefore was immediately seen as a threat to efficient competition enforcement.
As Authorities had to wait, new techniques have been developed in order to investigate remotely as much as possible, IT investigation methodologies and tools have also been refined and Covid protocols have been adopted. Eventually, cases have also been listed for future investigative actions. And, since inspections are possible again, many authorities are back within companies with still an impressive backlog of potential investigations to be started.
This is the right time for legal departments to consider updating existing response procedures to reflect the most recent developments and verifying that they are still efficient after months without occurrence of a raid and knowing many companies have completely changed the way work is organized during the pandemic.
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