A guide of the Attorney’s General office to the Act providing for criminal liability of legal entities

19. May 2017

In connection with an amendment to the Act providing for criminal liability of legal entities and proceedings held against them (“ZTOPO“), the Attorney’s General office issued a guide for the application of Section 8 ss. 5 of the Act. With effect from December 1, 2016, the provision inserts into the regulation an institute of exemption of legal entity from criminal liability. Pursuant to the Act, legal entity may exempt itself from criminal liability if it makes any and all reasonable efforts as to prevent the perpetration of a wrongful act by the persons specified under Section 8 ss. 1 of the ZTOPO (a statutory body, a member thereof, a person in a senior management position within a legal entity, or a person who performs audit within a legal entity or an employee of a legal entity). However, both the Act and the guide do not define the concept of „any and all efforts“ with respect to the application of Section 8 ss. 5 of the Act. The issue of exculpation will be at all times judged strictly case by case. The guide of the Attorney’s General office at least specifies some instruments mitigating the risk of occurrence of criminal liability of legal entity, such as the existence of an internal regulation (Deed of Foundation, organizational, workplace and signature regulation), organization of educational events aimed at the development of knowledge and skills required for a given position, drafted code of ethics, provision for an anti-corruption program, implementation of a compliance program or establishment of a corporate ombudsman institute. It will be also important to judge the effort-making from the corporate culture point of view. Investigative, prosecuting and adjudicating bodies will be looking not only into the existence of the aforesaid instruments but also into their actual reflection in the corporate culture of a given legal entity.