All regulators in the UK have the power to investigate regulated organisations and individuals. Some of these powers are highly intrusive, and failures to comply with requests for documents and/or information often amount to breaches of the criminal law – both for individuals and organisations – and in some regimes, certain regulatory failures are themselves criminal offences.
When an organisation faces a regulatory investigation, senior staff inevitably face scrutiny, either through questioning and/or via recovery of email, text and other documentary records. Regulatory investigations are therefore especially sensitive, requiring the development of an organisation’s substantive technical regulatory defence while protecting the legitimate interests of key individuals. We have a rigorous approach to legal defence, with a particular focus on challenging and curtailing regulatory overreach during investigations.
Our lawyers have experience in advising some key regulators in the UK and internationally. This then informs the work we do in representing organisations/individuals under investigation, giving us an invaluable perspective in developing appropriate and robust defence strategies.
We provide 360-degree legal support and advice throughout all stages of a regulatory investigation; from responding to requests for documents/information, to deploying highly trained lawyers at short notice in a ‘dawn raid’ by investigators.
Strategic defence advice
Defence strategies evolve throughout the course of an investigation, as new information is assessed and the regulator’s investigative focus emerges. We use robust project management to ensure the emerging evidence is fully considered, aligns with the overall defence strategy, and is protected by legal privilege.
Effective and efficient document review
We are highly focused on ensuring that evidence recovery is conducted fairly by regulators and will challenge evidence requests that are unfair or objectionable. We tailor the document/evidence review to ensure that the processes are efficient and proportionate, and we have flexible legal/paralegal teams available to work on all sizes of investigation.
Providing hands-on support and strategic defence advice throughout all stages of multiple high profile and significant regulatory investigations (involving multi-million-pound penalties), including dawn raids by enforcement authorities, lengthy, detailed document and data gathering exercises, and preparation of defence lines and mitigation statements.
Acting in the investigation of a major incident in an oil refinery, from the initial investigative steps though to development of the defence following prosecution, and then providing support to the regulator in writing a major incident report reflecting ‘lessons learned’.
Acting for tax authorities in the first Scottish enforcement case to be heard in relation to a series of multi-million-pound carousel VAT fraud cases, and then acting in all cases in Scotland.