There is no general obligation on UK companies to provide for internal investigations in their internal procedures. Rather, it has been a combination of the influence of US corporate practices on the one hand, and, on the other, the increased risk of corporate enforcement action with the advent of the 2010 Bribery Act and the reform of financial regulation post-financial crisis, which have led to the development of a now mature internal investigations industry and practice. At this point, the practice is so ingrained in corporate governance that many large companies have increasingly well-resourced in-house investigations teams.
This article by Robin Lööf focuses on aspects of the internal investigation itself which either have presented and/or still present particular challenges in the English context and will, hopefully, also be of interest to an Italian reader. It does not deal directly with some wider issues pertaining more to investigations by authorities, such as the vexed issue of the rules of corporate criminal liability and the various settlement options available to the authorities. To be sure, the risk of enforcement action is often an important driver of internal investigations and may condition the manner in which they are conducted. However, many if not most internal investigations are conducted and concluded without the involvement of any enforcement authority.It is therefore valuable to consider them on their own terms, beginning with why they should be conducted.
This article was initially published in Italian as “Internal investigations nel Regno Unito” in Investigazioni interni – Poteri ¦ Diritti ¦ Limiti ¦ Responsabilità, Enrico Di Fiorino and Giuseppe Fornari (eds.), Pacini Giuridica (2022), at pp. 173-192.
For the full article in English, please see here.