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The European Commission and national competition authoritieshave significantly increased their competition law enforcementactivities in recent years.They have the power to conduct “dawn raids” - surpriseinspections at company premises - in which they seize evidenceas a first step in what can be protracted investigations.How a company responds to a dawn raid will have a significantimpact on its defence before the Commission or nationalcompetition authorities.The following guide outlines what steps a company should takefollowing a dawn raid.1. Note: a speedy analysis may be vital if aleniency application is to be considered.2. If you have not already done so,assemble a Task Force comprising aresponsible member of the company’ssenior management team, and in-housecounsel. We strongly recommend that youinstruct an external Advisory Team of HFWlawyers. In particular, this will enable thecompany to benefit from the protectionof legal professional privilege againstdisclosure of documentation created inrelation to the Commission investigation.3. Obtain copies of, and review, theauthorisation and other documents (e.g.warrant) provided by the Commission atthe start of the dawn raid.4. Develop an external communicationstrategy. In particular, prepare a writtenstatement to be released if approached bythe press, which states that your companyhas been visited by the Commission,and that it is cooperating with theinvestigation.5. Consider the merits of holding an initialmeeting with the individuals within thecompany who have been approachedby the Commission (the IndividualsConcerned) to assess what the focus ofthe Commission’s investigation was, andwhat potential breaches of competitionlaw may have occurred, if any. We wouldstrongly recommend that the AdvisoryTeam is present at this meeting. A detailednote of the meeting should be taken, butby external counsel only (i.e. members ofthe Advisory Team, for the purposes ofpreserving legal professional privilege).6. Where it considers it possible to do so,and to facilitate cooperation, the companyshould reassure the Individuals Concernedthat they have the full support of thecompany.02 EU & Competition


7. Review as a matter of priority any documentsidentified as key documents by the IndividualsConcerned.8. As regards documentation, the Commissionmay have (i) selected and copied certaindocuments (electronic or hard copy), and (ii)copied (electronically) entire document folders ordatabases, (without reviewing them) for review at alater date.9. Consider the specified scope of the Commission’sinvestigation and discuss how to prioritise thedocument review (which will be conducted by theAdvisory Team) of all the documentation copiedand taken by the Commission. Discussions withthe Individuals Concerned may assist in theprioritisation of the document review process.10. Prepare and review a report of the dawn raid. Puttogether a list of all of the questions posed by theofficials during the course of the investigation, andreview the answers given. Correct any inaccuraciesin the information given. Follow up any incompleteor unanswered questions.11. Consider (with the Advisory Team and your internalIT support team) how to put all electronic and hardcopy documentation into a single location andformat, which enables its efficient review by theAdvisory Team.12. The Task Force, the Advisory Team, and the internalIT support team should consider the merits ofinstructing specialist IT consultants to organisedocumentation effectively.13. As regards the documentation that has beencopied and taken away for review at a later date,the Commission will likely invite the company andits lawyers to supervise its review of the additionalinformation. Consider the merits of looking at thisdocumentation beforehand.14. When reviewing documentation copied and/or taken bythe Commission, consider whether it is relevant to theinvestigation, and whether it is legally privileged.15. Prepare for potential follow-up unannouncedinspections that may result from the review of thedocuments collected during the previous inspection, oras a first step of a follow-up investigation.16. Consider whether to open communication channelswith the Commission, identifying the key case handlersand decision makers within the Commission.17. Conduct a broader competition law audit (carriedout by the Advisory Team, in order to preserve legalprofessional privilege) to assess whether the companyhas any (other) potential competition law liability.Identify individuals within the company who are activein the “at risk” areas of the business (for example,pricing).18. If, during the course of the internal review, potentialbreaches of competition law are uncovered that falloutside the scope of the Commission’s investigation,discuss the potential implications with the AdvisoryTeam, including whether it would be advisable to makea leniency application.19. Implement a drafting policy in relation to the creation ofsensitive and/or potentially privileged communications.HFW has experience of providing advice to clients across a range of industry sectors on competition law complianceand what to do if/when things go wrong. We are able to provide competition compliance training, tailored to the specificrequirements of clients, and to conduct mock dawn raids (at company premises).For more information, please contact:Konstantinos AdamantopoulosPartner, BrusselsT: +32 2 643 3401konstantinos.adamantopoulos@hfw.comEliza PetritsiPartner, London/BrusselsT: +44 (0)20 7264 8772/+32 2 643 3402eliza.petritsi@hfw.comAnthony WoolichPartner, LondonT: +44 (0)20 7264 8033anthony.woolich@hfw.comEU & Competition 03


Lawyers for international commerceHOLMAN FENWICK WILLAN LLPBlue TowerAvenue Louise 326Box 19B-1050 Brussels, BelgiumT: +32 2 643 3400F: +32 2 643 3488© 2012 Holman Fenwick Willan LLP. All rights reservedWhilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the information is intended as guidance only. It should not beconsidered as legal advice.Holman Fenwick Willan LLP is the Data Controller for any data that it holds about you. To correct your personal details or change your mailing preferences pleasecontact Craig Martin on +44 (0)20 7264 8109 or email craig.martin@hfw.comhfw.com

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