Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions
If you are notified of an investigation by an enforcement agency such as Trading Standards, Maritime and Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, Border Force, Gang Master Licensing Authority, Information Commissioner’s Office, Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency or Local Authority we offer the following services:
- Advice as to the law, evidence, procedure and likely outcome;
- Representation at interviews under caution with the relevant agency;
- Representation in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court;
- Advice on the choice of appropriate expert witnesses and specialist barristers.
Breaches of regulatory law can be a very serious matter and are treated as such by the Courts. Where a corporate entity is involved it is usual for the Directors to be prosecuted in addition to the Company itself. This could mean a Director facing substantial financial penalties or a custodial sentence. In the case of a sole trader he or she will be personally responsible for any regulatory offences.
As a measure of the potential gravity of regulatory breaches the Sentencing Guidelines Council has issued guidance for Health and Safety, Corporate Manslaughter, Food Safety and Food Hygiene Offences and VAT fraud.
However, there are also many regulatory offences including some contrary to the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Value Added Tax Act 1994 where there are no sentencing guidelines yet the Magistrates Court can impose unlimited fines and imprisonment.
Regulatory Law differs from general Criminal Law in that with the right legal representation at an early stage during an investigation it may well be possible to persuade the statutory body responsible for enforcement that a prosecution would not be in the public interest even if there is strong evidence of regulatory breaches.
An out of court disposal can sometimes be achieved through negotiations about the implementation of new workplace systems and an auditing of operations on a more frequent basis.
If a prosecution can be avoided this reduces legal costs considerably and removes the anxiety and uncertainty as well as the risk of convictions and penalties.
Another factor to be considered is the reputational damage to the business that may be caused by court proceedings and the likelihood of adverse publicity. This can lead to the loss of clients and consequent cash flow difficulties and ultimately in a severe case the demise of the business.
For these reasons it is important to instruct a regulatory law solicitor with detailed knowledge and expertise in this complex area of law.
- Trading Standards Investigations & Prosecutions
- Tax Investigations
- Health & Safety Investigations
- Customs and Excise Seizures by Border Force
- Maritime and Coastguard Investigations
- Insolvency Service Investigations
- Local Authority Investigations
- Environmental Investigations
- Care Quality Commission Investigations
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Dispute ResolutionContact
Consultant Solicitor and Head of Crime, Motoring Matters & InquestsContact
Senior Associate Solicitor and Head of Insolvency & Business RecoveryContact