The 2010 reform of the criminal code introduced, for the first time in Spain, a system of criminal liability of legal persons, in other words, the possibility of companies, foundations, cooperatives, and associations being convicted for crimes committed within them. These institutions, irrespective of their size, have since been required to conduct internal monitoring or to devise a regulatory compliance plan, which prevents the commission of crimes by employees or related entities. The repercussions may otherwise be very serious, with sanctions ranging from significant financial penalties, to company closure.

Nevertheless, there are a great number of legal entities that have not yet implemented a crime prevention and detection program in their organization, nor do they have an independent compliance entity or individual, a so-called compliance officer, responsible for its management. This is surprising considering the fact that compliance is here to stay. The trickle of convictions for tax violations, lack of transparency in accounting, discriminatory staff recruitment, and non-sustainable practices, have only just begun. The list of possible offenses is long, complex, and sometimes unclear.

That is why it is especially important to surround yourself with the right professionals, specialists in regulatory compliance with experience in implementing prevention plans in business organizations.

Successive legislative reforms, such as the most recent amendment to the Criminal Code, which entered into force on 1 July 2015, elaborate on positioning compliance programs as cornerstones of companies in terms of assigning responsibilities and combating crimes committed within a company.

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Why invest in compliance?

Because is it impossible to control everything

The criminal liability of companies can generate a great many risks associated with the commission of crimes. These crimes may be committed by employees, directors, and by members of the Board of Directors. External third parties and temporary assistants are regraded as internal staff in terms of company responsibility, and the bigger the size of the company, the more complicated it is to exercise control without outside help.

Because the directors have a lot at stake

There are areas which are best left in the hands of experts. Just as we have tax, computing, and human resources experts, so we also need experienced compliance personnel in order to avert issues in this regard. Though they may seem unlikely, that does not mean there is less need to implement these types of programs.

Due to high levels of technicality and the burden of the applicable legislation

These days, it’s another obligation for society. What is more, the complexity of cases linked to regulatory compliance must be borne in mind. Since it is a relatively new field, case studies continue to provide cues on the best ways to go about things, and this continuous study of the landscape can only be carried out by an expert.

Because de law requires a criminal risk prevention plan so that companies be exempt from criminal liability

The better the regulatory framework for the criminal liability of legal persons is clarified, the clearer the stakes of the boards of directors, because they have a duty to ensure the proper fulfillment of their companies in compliance. They act as guarantors for crimes committed by employees of the company, in exchange for omission. In order to bear this responsibility it is necessary to have experts at your disposal.

The globalization of the business world involves working with regulatory compliance programs


Why Kernel Legal?


Kernel Legal is a law firm specializing in Compliance which liaises with other firms, thereby creating a bigger network of specialists in every subject and sector, offering each of our clients a global response and single point of contact.


The management, monitoring, and tracking of our compliance programs is carried out using software tools, which offer both a sound analysis of the risks and a performance report, with the aim of ensuring effective and efficient prevention.


Eduardo Tornero, the managing director of Kernel Legal, is head of the firm’s corporate and compliance department. His ample experience in the field and his specific and ongoing training is a personal guarantee of success for our clients.

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