Criminal and customs law

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers represent and assist companies in Customs-related disputes putatively involving rights infringements and the shipping of contraband.

The shipping of counterfeit goods is punishable under criminal law and Customs regulations. Sanctions can be extremely heavy. Company directors may also be held personally liable.

The prelude to action before the criminal courts is often the confiscation or withholding of goods by Customs.

Strict rules of form and procedure must be followed, no matter the extensive powers with which Customs officers are vested, in order to protect the rights of the companies and persons so challenged.

Advisory Services

How to react when faced with Customs notification, or goods impounded but not confiscated? Who is authorised to act? Under what mandatory formal procedures? What access should be allowed to those seeking to view goods or documents? Can a company director’s home be searched? How can relief be obtained from the threat of legal action or confiscation?

These are among the questions to which LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers are ready to provide the answers.


Customs will if necessary seek the enforcement of fines levied by order of the criminal courts.
The parties that claim to be victims of allegedly wrongful acts have separate avenues open to each to obtain redress. Further penalties may be sought by the authorities.

In Customs disputes, LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers check that procedures for making evidential reports and confiscation are regularly followed, and will seek annulment of wrongfully or mistakenly instituted procedures. Allegations will be scrutinized for factual accuracy and the necessary evidence and documents produced.

In-depth understanding of Customs law and knowledge of the relevant case law are absolutely essential here.

If the circumstances warrant, our lawyers will seek punitive sanctions against infringements, and will issue claims for penalties and damages.

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL recently had an adverse Customs decision overturned, in circumstances where a trademark was allegedly infringed, but in less than clearly identified circumstances, as the declarations made by the rights holder, allegedly a victim of infringement, had been confused and gave rise to uncertainty.

Through mediation, the law firm recently won agreement to a 90% reduction in fine.