Locating, preserving and reviewing relevant documents

This content does not apply to the situation where a dawn raid is being conducted by the European Commission or another competition authority. In that situation, see here. In other cases:

  • steps must be taken immediately to prevent the destruction of relevant documents, either through the company's normal document destruction processes or by those individuals likely to feature in the investigation 
  • the undertaking's IT department should be contacted immediately to ensure that all routine deletion of electronic material on servers, backup systems, individual PCs and other electronic devices is immediately suspended pending the outcome of the investigation process 
  • a member of the internal investigation team should be immediately tasked with collecting all hard copy notebooks, working files and other hard copy materials, as well as laptops and other portable electronic devices used by relevant employees 
  • consider whether the collection and preservation of relevant documents will engage data protection laws
  • consider how confidentiality will be preserved. Relevant individuals should be contacted individually, rather than via mass communications sent to the whole workforce. Each relevant individual should be expressly reminded of the confidential nature of the investigation from the outset and warned of the need to avoid any conduct that could be considered "tipping off" competitors - for more information click here 
  • relevant individuals should be consulted as soon as possible for assistance to identify and locate all relevant electronic and hard copy material. This may require relevant personnel to bring in data from home or provide access to locked filing cabinets and/or data rooms within company premises 
  • it may be necessary to identify and quarantine some documents (including all copies) as quickly as possible. A means of quarantining any such documents should be identified (the offices of any external advisers might be appropriate for this purpose) 
  • consider the need for specialist IT assistance, which may assist in processing and searching electronic documents