Every company faces increased scrutiny and penalties for antitrust and competition violations. Non-compliance with competition law, amongst others, can result in huge, and increasing, fines to the enterprise as well as officers in charge; exposure to huge compensation claims (for both actual loss and loss in profits); individual liability on directors and other officers in charge; illegality of business models and practices; unenforceability of key business contracts and reputational loss.
The Firm guides clients and provides all stages of competition compliance counselling, including offering effective strategies to improve compliance and mitigating risk, including obtaining immunity from fines for past conduct.
To have an effective compliance & risk management process, we offer following services:
1. Competition Audit : Our experienced and trained competition lawyers undertake a detailed audit of the practices and agreements of the company to analyze whether the practices are in compliance with the principles of Competition Law.
- As a part of the audit, our team meets with and interviews key employees to understand, amongst others, the client’s:
- Existing business partnering arrangements;
- Interactions and communications with competitors, such as participation in trade associations;
- Interactions with customers or suppliers;
- Plans for potential mergers, joint ventures or alliances; and
- Pricing and distribution practices and strategies.
Compliance audits unearth any anti-competitive conduct that a company is knowingly or unknowingly engaged in. Post the audit, and as a matter of risk assessment, a risk matrix is prepared in the following manner:
2. Adoption of best practices and imparting training : Audit is just one step in the overall compliance and risk management services. Once the risks from the audit are identified, an effective and tailored compliance program is rolled out at all levels of company (level of board of directors, senior management, project managers, suppliers, distributors and all other business partners) to make them aware of the principles of competition law and at the same time, ensuring that the business is run in a commercially successful manner.
An effective competition law compliance programme helps minimise the risk of infringement and ensures that systems are in place to deal with such infringement. The Firm offers in-house compliance training seminars and audits. The training seminars are informative and interactive, and designed to expediently coach the company on the nuances of competition law compliance programs. These seminars can be tailored to suit any company, industry, or audience.
3. General compliance counselling : The Firm’s team of lawyers and experts work with clients as they periodically reassess their compliance programs. We advise clients contemplating a change in their pricing policies, distribution systems or relationships with a major customer or supplier, marketing strategies of new products or change in their marketing strategies and analyze the same with respect to the competition law compliance risk.
4. Dawn raid training : The Competition Amendment Bill gives a lot of teeth to the CCI on their power of search and seizure, by way of dawn raids. Once the bill sees the light of the day and becomes enforceable, CCI will excercise its power of raids to gather evidence of an anti competitive conduct. Regulatory search and seizure operations can occur when least expected. Such dawn raids require expert handling and incorrect handling of such raids can have an instant and dramatic impact on the business and reputation of the company. It is essential that policies and procedures are in place and are followed during the course of dawn raids, the impact can be minimized during the course of proceedings.
In the event of a dawn raid, companies need immediate legal assistance. The Firm gives guidance and dawn raid training, effective measures to handle every stage of a dawn raid from the first moment that the CCI officials come to the premises of the clients to post raid debriefing. The Firm can assist the clients in developing and implementing effective procedures and training the senior management and other key employees. We believe in providing 24*7 support. We will work with clients to ensure that they are prepared for a dawn raid by:
- Advising on and preparing dawn raid guidelines and procedures for employees to follow in the event of an inspection by competition authorities, as a part of the overall compliance program;
- Conducting a dawn raid response audit to test client procedures for dealing with a dawn raid; and
- Providing training to the employees of the company on handling a dawn raid.