In his remarks at the New York University School of Law on July 11, 2019, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced a significant policy shift at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) that would incentivize the adoption of adequate and effective corporate compliance programs.

Going forward, in deciding on how to resolve criminal charges against corporations, US DOJ prosecutors will consider “the adequacy and effectiveness of the corporation’s compliance program at the time of the offense, as well as at the time of the charging decision.” In short, the US DOJ will now give corporations credit for having an adequate and effective compliance program, which can lead to a reduction in the penalty sought, something that was already occurring in other jurisdictions such as Canada. Having such a compliance program may, in certain circumstances, also qualify the corporation to a non-prosecution agreement, notwithstanding the DOJ’s general “disfavor” for such agreements.