Competition compliance—Germany—Q&A guide

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Competition compliance—Germany—Q&A guide
  • 1. What is the general attitude of business and the authorities to competition compliance?
  • 2. Is there a government-approved standard for compliance programmes in your jurisdiction?
  • 3. Is the compliance guidance generally applicable or do best practice and obligations depend on company size and the sector of the economy it operates in?
  • 4. If the company has a competition compliance programme in place, does it have any effect on sanctions?
  • 5. How does a company demonstrate its commitment to competition compliance?
  • 6. What are the key features of a compliance programme regarding risk identification?
  • 7. What are the key features of a compliance programme regarding risk assessment?
  • 8. What are the key features of a compliance programme regarding risk mitigation?
  • 9. What are the key features of a compliance programme regarding review?
  • More...

Competition compliance—Germany—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to competition compliance in Germany published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: April 2020).

Authors: Schulte Riesenkampff Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH—Michael Dallmann

1. What is the general attitude of business and the authorities to competition compliance?

In principle, companies are aware of the risks of breaches of competition law; however, recent surveys indicate that the topics of data protection, corruption and liability for products and services are given higher priority in compliance. 

This contrasts with the continued, very strict prosecution of competition violations and the constant expansion of the types of conduct pursued in Germany; thus, competition compliance remains a very important factor in Germany to prevent companies from infringing competition laws, as well as to mitigate adverse effects after an infringement. In this regard, the Federal Court of Justice has recognised the presence of a compliance management system (CMS) as a mitigating factor when setting administrative fines. Although the decision refers to a breach of tax law, its reasoning also applies to cartel infringement. In a current beer cartel case before the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the prosecutors acknowledged the compliance efforts of a cartelist in their proposal for the setting of an adequate fine.

Cartel infringements will also soon be registered by the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) in a

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