Mental harassment, accidents in the workplace, misuse of corporate assets, public procurement regulations, fraud, industrial espionage, cross-border corruption, etc.: the boundaries of criminal law have been expanding steadily for the past fifteen years. Any company or company director in any sector — and, more generally, any person with potential criminal liability — may be faced with criminal prosecution at some time or another.
Soulez Larivière & Associés is renowned for its expertise in this core practice area.
The firm can assist and advise on a variety of areas of criminal law, including:
Crisis management and disasters
White collar crime
Criminal employment law
Criminal law in the public health sector
General criminal law
Criminal law and the press, media and new technologies
Since the early 1990s, Soulez Larivière & Associés has been seen as a benchmark in crisis management and disasters, and in particular in the handling of industrial, aviation and shipping disasters, which often result in criminal prosecution in France for unintentional injury or manslaughter. This reputation is based on a proven record of successfully handling a large number of such cases. Among those that have attracted the most media attention are the majority of the plane crashes in France over the past 25 years, the collapse of part of the Furiani stadium, the sinking of the tanker ‘Erika’, the collapse of the roof of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport’s Terminal 2E in 2004 and the explosion at the AZF chemicals factory. All the defendants in the AZF case were acquitted in 2009; the judgement was subsequently set aside in 2012, but this appeal court decision was reversed in 2015 when the Court of Cassation agreed that there were concerns about the impartiality of the judges. A re-trial is due to be held in 2016.
Soulez Larivière & Associés handles white collar crime in the economic and financial sectors, with a focus on corruption, fraud, industrial espionage, misuse of corporate assets, breach of trust and money laundering, both within France and on an international scale (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). The firm more specifically assists corporate clients and individuals accused of bribery of foreign public officials, advising them on their defence strategy in each country.
Soulez Larivière & Associés frequently handles cases involving health and safety in the workplace, occupational risks and criminal offences recognised in the French Employment Code, such as the employment of undeclared workers, ‘obstruction of employee representatives’ and harassment. The firm regularly represents clients accused of ‘lack of care’ resulting in accidents in the workplace or of ‘reckless endangerment’ resulting in an occupational illness. It has also won recognition for its handling of cases involving ‘involuntary’ offences, an area which combines technical, legal, human and societal considerations.
Soulez Larivière & Associés works on health-related issues that arise in a diverse range of economic and employment matters. For example, the firm defended one of the directors of the National Blood Transfusion Agency (Centre national de transfusion sanguine, CNTS) in the contaminated blood scandal; this case dragged on for more than ten years until all charges were ultimately dismissed in 2003. Similarly, the firm handles cases relating to hepatitis B, legionnaires’ disease, hospital-acquired infections, medical liability, asbestos and other toxic products, illegal advertising of tobacco products, product liability and ‘aggravated deception’, such as the PIP breast implant case. The firm also represents doctors in disputes before the French Medical Association and in ethical liability cases.
Although the firm’s core practice area is criminal defence for corporate clients and company directors, it also takes on ordinary criminal cases such as theft, assault or drug dealing, ranging from minor offences to serious criminal offences. Several members of Soulez Larivière & Associés are registered with the Paris Bar as court-appointed attorneys and on-call criminal defence attorneys, as part of the emergency criminal defence service. This hands-on experience in ordinary criminal cases and procedural aspects is vital and, in our opinion, intrinsic to the practice of the other branches of criminal law.
The firm specialises in libel cases, and also handles litigation concerning breaches of privacy of correspondence and hacking (unauthorised access to automated data systems, data protection).
Articles relating to this practice area (only available in French):
- Défendre le diable
- « Comprendre ou juger ? »
- Des dangers de la pénalisation des accidents
- « Affaire "Erika" : Total victime d’un malentendu »
- Procès AZF : quelques articles de presse
- Vers une responsabilité illimitée de l’ingénieur ?
- Parabènes : la précaution ou la peur ?
- Les tenants de la précaution jouent sur la peur
- Faute à La Faute sur mer
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