If you are threatened with director disqualification proceedings, or your business is facing a trading standards or data protection investigation or prosecution, you may find yourself in uncharted territory. Or, your business may be a public body used to the process, but without enough manpower to deal with the situation. In either case, our regulatory law solicitors can offer you the expert help and advice you need to deal with these issues.
How can our regulatory solicitors help?
Our specialist team advises and represents clients in a number of fields:
- Data protection: breaches of GDPR, and other data protection laws, may be investigated by the Information Commissioner, and we advise on compliance, self-reporting and sanctions which may be imposed. Our data protection breach solicitors act for clients in related areas, for example, telemarketing nuisance calling cases.
- Directors’ disqualification: directors and senior managers can be prosecuted alongside their companies for many sorts of offences. However, we also provide advice in relation to cases involving “unfitness” of a person to be a director, which may lead to the disqualification of directors, including in insolvency situations, where accounts or returns are not made, or where there are financial irregularities.
- Planning: we deal regularly with planning issues including breach of tree preservation orders and statutory nuisance.
- Trading standards: if you need help with trading standards investigations and prosecutions our trading standards solicitors can help with a range of issues, including product safety and packaging, fair trading (including intellectual property or advertising issues) and package holiday offences.
What is the process for an investigation or prosecution?
Every case is different, so our advice will depend on your particular circumstances. Generally, these are the stages a case will go through:
- Self-reporting: certain offences require a business to report breaches to the regulator themselves.
- Investigation: at this time the regulator will be considering what action to take, but if instructed at an early stage we find that we can provide very useful advice, helping to protect your position as much as possible. We will advise on what information you need to provide to those investigating criminal offences, as well as what information should be provided by them to you. We can also provide advice during interviews under caution, whether at a police station or in writing.
- The decision on the process of enforcement action (if any): we have achieved success for clients in preventing any action being taken at all, saving significant time and money. In other cases, civil or criminal sanctions may be deployed, including service of enforcement notices. We are well placed to advise you about both compliance with, or appeals of, those sorts of sanctions.
- Prosecution: if a criminal case has started, we advise on the prospect of being convicted of the alleged offences, and update the advice as the case progresses. This is particularly important as evidence and other documents are disclosed, or as evidence is gathered on your behalf. This means that you are able to make informed choices about the way forward at each stage. it goes without saying that we also deal with any questions of bail and general trial preparation.
- Sentencing: we will always advise on likely penalties in the event of a conviction. Should that point be reached, we can add value in terms of considering our clients’ finances and progressing mitigation on their behalf.
- Appeals: our team has experience of all types of appeals, including in the Court of Appeal and former House of Lords. This means we are well placed to advise you about appeals against conviction or sentence.
How long will my case take?
The length of time a case lasts is likely to be dictated by the speed of the investigation and the timetable imposed by the court. Our regulatory solicitors will keep you updated as to this through the case.