Dear Readers,

In this issue of the CPI Antitrust Chronicle®, we explore the implications of the new U.S. Department of Justice incentives for corporate antitrust compliance programs.

On July 11 of this year, the Antitrust Division of the DOJ announced that it would consider the nature of a company’s antitrust compliance efforts when bringing criminal charges or imposing sentences for antitrust violations. This, of course, provides a powerful incentive for companies to invest in such programs.

While the intention of the policy is clear, it remains to be seen how effective it will prove to be. Historically, corporate management has seen limited value in investing in robust compliance programs. Will reduced charges or penalties be enough to change that culture, especially when “adequate” compliance has yet to be tested, and so have the extent to the rewards?

This edition of the CPI Antitrust Chronicle includes comprehensive reviews of the new policy in the context of the history of antitrust compliance. Proposals on what robust compliance might look like are advanced, including screens as one of the tools, as are some policy suggestions linking compliance efforts with the time-tested policy of leniency.

Among the many questions raised is whether the DOJ’s policy should be a model for other antitrust agencies. Understanding how the efficacy of compliance and leniency programs can vary in different economic systems provides important insight to policy makers globally.

A final consideration is how the success of this new initiative can be measured. While some might expect that more effective enforcement should lead to an increase in enforcement actions, the ability to deter illegal conduct might have the opposite implication. Perhaps, if the DOJ’s policy is very effective, we might see fewer actions brought in the future.

As always, thank you to our great panel of authors.


Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz