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Spiral Stairs
27 February 20243 minute read

Canadian Corporate Crime, Compliance and Investigations group launches series focused on internal investigations

An internal investigation may seem like a simple undertaking, but those experienced with investigations know that looks are deceiving. At its essence, an internal investigation comprises a factual and legal assessment to determine whether or not certain conduct occurred and constituted a breach of law or company policies. It starts with a concern (whether from a whistleblower, an audit, a regulatory investigation or a lawsuit), and turns to a factual inquiry. Once the facts are ascertained, legal counsel offers legal advice as to whether there has in fact been any misconduct, and often offers recommendations as to litigation, regulatory proceedings, termination of employees, and other matters. Further, the investigation report often offers recommendations to change policies or procedures to avoid future non-compliance. Put in these simplest terms, it appears to be a relatively straightforward process.

However, what appears simple on its face is anything but a simple exercise. Investigations often involve high stakes for the company, and are usually subject to significant time pressures. At each layer, the complexities stack up.

Internal investigations into serious corporate misconduct require careful planning and execution. Legal counsel tasked with an investigation into serious corporate misconduct must assess and re-assess their plan, manage several concurrent activities, operate under time pressure, and maintain objectivity.

In our upcoming series, Focus on Investigations, our Canadian Corporate Crime, Compliance and ‎Investigations team will highlight some of the key issues that investigators should take care to consider ‎when undertaking internal investigations of serious corporate misconduct. We will consider:

  • When does a company need to conduct an internal investigation?
  • What should be included in an investigation plan?
  • How does a company protect privilege over its internal investigation?
  • What are the challenges respecting document collection and preservation?
  • How should witness interviews be conducted?
  • What should the company consider in reporting on the results of the investigation?
  • What are some special considerations or issues that arise in international investigations?

In our final part of the series, we will provide you with a checklist to keep track of some of the key issues in your investigation.

If you would like to be alerted to the publication of the articles in this series, please subscribe to our Corporate Crime, Compliance & Investigations mailing list for email alerts.