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An expert tells the University that 75% of companies in Spain have a compliance programme in place

Beatriz Goena Vives participated in the Symposium 'The criminal liability of legal persons. Implications for the Church and canonical entities', of the School de Canon Law

FotoManuelCastells/Beatriz Goena Vives, PhD in Law, co-founder and academic coordinator of the journal La Ley. Criminal compliance.

24 | 03 | 2022

"75% of companies in Spain have a compliance programme". This was stated at the University of Navarra by Beatriz Goena Vives, professor at Pompeu Fabra University, co-founder and academic coordinator of the first scientific journal on criminal compliance in Spain: La Ley. Criminal Compliance. The expert and doctor at Criminal Law participated in the 15th International Symposium of high school Martín de Azpilcueta, on this occasion focusing on 'The criminal liability of legal persons. Implications for the Catholic Church and canonical entities'.

association Professor Goena illustrated her statement with graphs from the report 'Study on the compliance function in Spanish companies', carried out in 2020 by the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), the Spanish Compliance Association (ASCOM) and the high school de programs of study Económicos (IEE). The survey survey involved 4,800 companies with more than 200 employees in the industry, construction and services sectors.

speaker divided her speech into three parts. In the first of these, she made a descriptive approach to the legal system of criminal liability of legal persons in Spain. In the second part, she went into the application internship of the criminal liability of legal persons. The third point was devoted to the specific implications of the application of the state legal system for the Church and for canonical entities.

"The Catholic Church must take the lead in promoting ethics in organisations".

In his message, he recalled that the legal system of criminal liability of legal persons aims at the partnership of organisations with the State for the achievement of public objectives, "which in this case are ethics and good corporate governance". In this sense, he emphasised the importance of not seeing this legal system as a legal system with sanctions, but as an opportunity to promote ethics in the management of organisations and collective entities. "I don't think it is the role of the Catholic Church to join in, but to lead this promotion of ethics," he said.

Finally, he described the implications of applying this legal system, in particular at framework of the Catholic Church. In doing so, he focused on three pillars: prevention, detection and reaction.

In terms of prevention, he highlighted three ideas: the importance of professionalising advice, the need to analyse criminal risks, and the adaptation of fields of action to the specific entity, according to its activity and relations, "because it is not the same to talk about a small parish as a foundation".

For detection, he said it is necessary to establish written protocols and codes of action; to open channels of complaint, "very important", he said, as well as internal investigations. As for the reaction, he considered it essential to " partnership with the authorities, to have an internal disciplinary system and an appropriate speech policy".