Florence Newton

Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 01 Aug 2019 LAST UPDATED: 11 Mar 2021

An Introduction to Regulatory Law

Broadly speaking, Regulatory Law refers to the exercise of function by a public agency which derives its power from Central Government. Examples of such agencies include the Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”), The Planning Inspectorate, and the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”). These agencies have the power to bring about prosecution, enforcement, disciplinary proceedings, as well as undertaking periodic inspections and reviews.

In many instances, it is the Local Authority which will act in accordance with its executive function to carry out such regulatory enforcement and review. As such, it is the Local Authority which undertakes functions relating to Trading Standards, Planning Law, certain Health and Safety matters, as well as Licensing and Environmental Health.

One unique aspect of Regulatory Law which is seldom found in other legal sectors, is the use of committees and tribunals in relation to prosecution and enforcement proceedings. Indeed, a breach of Licensing Law may result in a committee revoking a premises’ license. Equally, a registered provider appealing CQC enforcement action will find themselves at the Care Standards Tribunal.

Both committees and tribunals differ from traditional English courts, in that they are far less formal. Committees are held at the Local Authority offices and are adjudicated by elected members of the Council, with the aid of a Local Authority solicitor. Tribunals are regularly held at your local court or tribunal building, and are presided over by a judge and two specialist members of the tribunal. Consequently, there is significantly less uniformity of rules or procedures which apply to these quasi-legal proceedings, requiring Regulatory Law solicitors to have specific, in-depth knowledge and experience of their local council practises and tribunals.

Other areas of Regulatory Law are, however, dealt with by the criminal courts and prosecution under such can carry substantial fines and sanctions. In 2018, Tesco were fined £1.8 million for failing to adequately assess the risk of pedestrians and heavy goods vehicles using the same car park, in breach of Health and Safety Legislation. This resulted in a member of the public
suffering life-changing injuries after a delivery lorry reversed into them.

It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that individuals and businesses act in compliance with their regulatory duties. Our Regulatory Law solicitors at Ellis Jones can provide expert advice and assistance in relation to all aspects of Regulatory Law.

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