Directors’ and officers’ liability

Arntzen de Besche has a high level of expertise and extensive experience in handling compensation claims against directors and other members of the company’s management.

Any director of a company may be held personal liable regardless of the type, size and complexity of the business. This also applies to other members of the management, for instance the CEO. Since the beginning of 2017, more than 70 judgements related to directors’ and officers’ liability have been handed down by the Norwegian courts. It is expected that the number of claims will continue to rise due to, among other factors, the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawyers at Arntzen de Besche has the expertise that is needed in order to handle such cases in an efficient and professional manner.

Broad dispute and litigation experience

The lawyers at Arntzen de Besche handles everything from large, complex directors’ and officers’ liability cases to less extensive disputes, and regularly argue such cases before the courts.

Our lawyers provide assistance related to compensation claims from companies, shareholders, creditors, bankruptcy estates and others. We also have extensive experience with recourse claims between directors and officers, professional practitioners and insurance companies.

We have competent partners and associates at all levels who are experienced with these specific types of cases, enabling us to create cost-effective teams.

Advice on practical issues

Several of the lawyers at Arntzen de Besche are appointed as directors themselves and has extensive experience of how to deal with practical issues. Satisfactory internal control and reporting procedures, solid board documentation templates and knowledge of the directors’ and officers’ duties and responsibilities are crucial to act responsibly as a director or officer.

The expectations to directors and officers are constantly expanding, including expectations in relation to compliance and risk management. This means that directors and officers more often are in need of and should take advice on how to deal with practical issues. The lawyers at Arntzen de Besche may for instance provide advice on directors’ and officers’ formal duties, how to deal with practical issues that arise for instance in board meetings, and assist by drafting various types of documents. In addition, we provide advice on the directors’ and officers’ leeway if the company is facing financial difficulties or involved in a restructuring processes.

The lawyers at Arntzen de Besche also possess considerable expertise on important issues such as the division of responsibilities between the directors and the CEO, the interface towards auditors and external advisors, distribution of responsibility in group companies and particular obligations that applies to public listed companies. Finally, we advise on the directors’ role in relation to strategical work, including in relation to trends such as ESG and sustainability.

D&O insurance

Compensation claims can be a heavy personal burden for the affected parties. Defence against these kinds of legal proceedings can be a costly undertaking, even if the claim proves to be unfounded. Therefore, it is important that the company takes out D&O insurance on behalf of its directors and officers.

In order to determine what is covered by the D&O insurance it is necessary to interpret the terms and conditions of the insurance policy as the coverage and exclusions may vary. The lawyers at Arntzen de Besche have extensive experience in handling insurance claims on behalf of both insurance companies and policyholders. Our assistance includes, among other things, interpretation of insurance terms and conditions, notification of compensation claims, handling various types of insurance disputes, and arguing insurance related cases before the courts.