Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions
Our team provide specialist assistance and guidance in all legal matters relating to 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 incredibly serious in nature and are treated with such importance and weight 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 details and direction for Health and Safety, Corporate Manslaughter, Food Safety and Food Hygiene Offences, and VAT fraud.
Regulatory sentencing guidelines
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, as of yet, no sentencing guidelines, and the Magistrates Court can therefore impose unlimited fines and imprisonment.
Regulatory Law differs from general Criminal Law in that, with the right legal representation at an early stage of 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, legal costs will be reduced considerably and the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty can be avoided, as well as the risk of potential convictions and penalties.
Another factor that should be considered is the reputational damage to the business that may be caused by court proceedings and the likelihood of adverse publicity and PR. This can lead to the loss of clients and consequent cash flow difficulties, and ultimately in a severe case the entire demise of the business.
For these reasons, it is important to instruct a regulatory law solicitor with detailed knowledge and experience in this complex area of law.
Our team of expert solicitors have years of experience successfully handling a range of complex cases and legal matters relating to regulatory law and have assisted many businesses throughout the process of regulatory investigations and prosecutions.
Get in touch with a member of the team today for expert advice and guidance.
- 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