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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539
Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

The new German government is looking to tackle corporate misconduct

Author: Niall Hearty  8 December 2021

Niall Hearty of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli sees Germany’s approach as part of a trend.

Germany’s coalition government is to overhaul the country’s laws on corporate misconduct.

The new government has outlined its priorities for the next four years, which include a pledge to revise Germany’s corporate misconduct legislation.

The coalition has said the changes will include clear rules regarding companies’ compliance obligations. It will also devise “a precise legal framework” for how companies should conduct internal investigations and has said it will be committed to greater cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies

While the government, which includes Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats, has not offered any precise information about the changes it is planning, the move has been largely welcomed. 

Many in the German legal profession have stated that the country’s current approach to corporate liability is inadequate. Three years ago, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report that it was unhappy with Germany’s ability to only hold businesses liable in a quarter of the country’s foreign bribery cases.

Some German legal practitioners believe the new government will introduce an amended version of a corporate crime bill that did not make it into law under the previous administration. That proposed piece of legislation, the 2018 Corporate Sanctions Act, would have introduced corporate criminal liability into Germany and made it possible for courts to order monitoring of corporate offenders. But it was not passed due to concerns that it would not recognise internal investigations as privileged.

The German plans are not surprising. They come a month after the Irish government published its new white-collar crime package to tackle corruption and increase transparency and arrive at a time when a number of European countries are looking to improve their approach to corporate misconduct.

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Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.

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