Right against self-incrimination


Institution Definition

"In the Orkem-judgment (para. 34) the ECJ stated that the “Commission may not compel an undertaking to provide it with answers which might involve an admission on its part of the existence of an infringement which it is incumbent upon the Commission to prove” The precise distinction between self incriminating questions and lawful questions may sometimes be difficult to draw. However the following indications might be helpful. Whether a question is of a self-incriminating nature or not should be assessed from an objective perspective (average and reasonable respondent) rather than the perspective of the individual addressee (subjective perspective). It is not relevant which information the Commission already has in its possession when asking a question. This approach ensures an objective interpretation of the law, consistent with the principle of legal certainty. It is recommended to assess whether a company can answer a question truthfully without an admission of guilt." © European Commission

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