Defending Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions
Defending Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions Introduction Who am I? Whistlestop Tour Sources
HSE Local Authorities Environment Agency Civil Aviation Authority Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Forestry Commission Maritime and Coastguard Agency OFCOM etc etc
Statistics In 2014-2015 Health and Safety Executive Prosecuted 650 cases, with at least one conviction achieved in 606 cases, conviction rate 93%. Prosecuted 1058 offences, resulting in 905 convictions, a conviction rate of 86%. Prosecutions led to fines totalling 16.5 million, and average
of 18,198 per offence (this is rising sharply due to the new Sentencing Guidelines in force from February 2016). Get a Lawyer! Privilege Legal Knowledge Conflicts Incident Report
Competence and choice of lawyer Resources Insurance Financial People Time Overall effect on the business and continuity
Team Will vary according to type of investigation/enforcement Legal Input Business Owner IT input Someone with actual knowledge No-one under individual investigation
Develop a joint plan Communications Single point of contact Hierarchy IT issues Confidentiality Briefings
Legal Advice Particular care over external communications Evidence Gathering Get ahead of the Regulator Identify Sources of Evidence early Material control IT issues
Catalogue and Store Limit access to Investigation team only Consider all evidence types: documentary, electronic, witnesses, physical, photographic Experts Publicity Confidentiality
Employees duties Media management PR Reputational Damage Turning a bad story into a good one Regulators Powers What can they actually do?
Variety of powers Are they acting lawfully? Is the manner of the exercise of those powers lawful? Interviews and Requests for Information Legal input critical Vital to get strategy right
Identify the powers Identify the respondee Prepare carefully Obtain as much information as possible in advance Base the response on clear evidence of your position Defend Actively Keep hunting for information
Review the defence strategy regularly Put pressure on the Regulator Make representations Look for the Regulators weak points Always look to keep the case out of court Factual Defences Identity
Wrong legislation Facts dont give rise to an offence Legal elements arent made out Do they have powers to investigate/prosecute you, both individually and corporately? Putting the Spotlight back on the Regulator
Their approach to regulation, investigation and prosecution. Codes, Government Guidance, Enforcement Policies. Previous dealings with the client. Are they acting in good faith, proportionately? Are they acting in line with their own guidance? Are Employees at Fault?
Duty of Care to Employees May need separate representation Can be individually prosecuted Do their actions afford a defence? Think strategically about how to deal with them Court Which Court?
Preparation Pleas? Aggravating and Mitigating Factors Financial information Newton Hearings Ongoing negotiation Sentencing and Penalties
Powers Beware of allegations of commercial advantage Preparation- submissions and bundles Make certain the basis of the conviction/plea is agreed. Fines Imprisonment Other orders e.g. directors disqualification Costs
Huge increases in penalties for regulatory offences Questions? Legal Studio Edmund Conybeare Web: www.legalstudio.co.uk
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