Corporate internal investigations: the role of criminal lawyers

Corporate internal investigations: the role of criminal lawyers

  • Fabio Cagnola

“As we all know, the role of the criminal lawyer is no longer confined to the courtroom and continues to expand into new areas. In recent years, judicial practice has seen an explosion in one of these areas – conducting corporate internal investigations. Originating in Anglo-Saxon countries, internal investigations have now also become an established part of the Italian system.

Companies increasingly require outside support to launch and carry out internal investigations to determine whether illicit practices have been committed by employees, including actions that may harm the business itself.

It is easy to see how the support of a criminal lawyer can be indispensable not just in “substantive” terms, but also in “procedural” terms. A feature of internal investigations is the “legal vacuum” they operate in, in other words the complete absence of any legal discipline. The involvement of a criminal lawyer means these complex and delicate procedures can be carried out not as mere company investigations (and as such, with limited judicial value and, above all, without any real criminal protection) but as genuine defence investigations as per Art. 391-bis ff of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This has hugely significant consequences for the procedural use and value of the evidence collected, for the range of activities performed (consider the use of technical experts),as well as for ensuring that information collected remains confidential (legal privilege).”

For the complete article, see pages 3-4 of Top Legal, October 2020