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Regulatory

Leading regulatory law solicitors, Manchester and London

Expert legal advice and assistance on regulatory and criminal matters including health and safety, inquests, fire safety, environmental, trading standards and professional discipline.

At Olliers, our team of experienced regulatory lawyers acts for individuals and businesses facing investigation and prosecution by the full spectrum of authorities and regulatory bodies including the police; Health and Safety Executive (HSE); Trading Standards; General Medical Council (GMC); General Dental Council (GDC); Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); Health and Care Professions Council; CQC; the Environment Agency and those responsible for overseeing fire safety legislation.

We understand the impact an investigation or prosecution can have upon the lives of an individual and their business or professional life. 

Many cases can be lengthy and complex and our team are able to assist from the outset through to conclusion including appeals, where appropriate.

Olliers’ pro-active approach

We take a pro-active approach and will do everything possible to help an individual or organisation under investigation to avoid a prosecution or disciplinary action. We look to establish early dialogue with investigators, exploring all avenues with a view to achieving a swift resolution. Our primary objective is to nip an investigation in the bud and minimise the impact upon our clients.

In cases with an alleged criminal element, we are frequently instructed prior to an interview under caution,  for example at the point of a dawn raid’ or HSE site visit. We act for clients who have been asked to attend a voluntary interview. Alternatively, if a client has already been interviewed we may be contacted once they are released under investigation.

The pre charge stage of the case is absolutely crucial. It is the opportunity for the defence to go on the front foot adopting a proactive approach to pre-charge engagement with investigators. At Olliers, we will always look to make successful representations against charge and prevent clients being prosecuted, something we discuss in more detail here.

In health and safety cases we have considerable experience in drafting submissions during the investigation stage which can on occasion result in no further action being taken or an alternative, out of court disposal of a matter which can save individuals and businesses a considerable amount of money and time, as well, as limiting the potential damage to their reputation.

In professional discipline cases such as those brought by the GMC, GDC, NMC and HCPC, as well as many more membership organisations, we have considerable experience in drafting submissions to have matters concluded without proceeding to a final disciplinary panel. We are also, however. able to assist with drafting responses and collating evidence on behalf of registrants who are unfortunate enough to be facing professional misconduct allegations before their regulator or membership organisation. It is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity even before allegations are formally put as this can greatly influence the way that a case plays out.

Our Regulatory Team is known for its pro-active approach to ‘crisis management’ adopting a sure footed and holistic strategy from the outset.

Watch Gareth Martin talk through Olliers Regulatory expertise:

Regulatory law touches in many areas of our everyday lives, from health and safety laws designed to ensure that employers keep their employees and the non-employee safe through the trading standards which is designed to protect consumers from unfair trading whilst also providing legitimate businesses with advice and support. Regulatory law also encompasses fire safety legislation which is designed to ensure the public spaces have appropriate safety measures in place to ensure that we, as members of the public, are kept safe. We also deal with environmental law matters which touch upon everyone’s daily life when we consider the human impact, the breaches of environmental legislation can have on every single one of us. As regulatory lawyers we also often find ourselves called upon to provide advice and assistance to professionals who may be facing criminal allegations but also misconduct proceedings. The fact is that there are many walks of life and anyone can find themselves subject to a police investigation, therefore many professionals can also find themselves subject to a misconduct investigation. At Olliers, we have many years experience providing advice and assistance to businesses and professionals across the full spectrum of regulators including the Health and Safety Executive, General Medical Council and General Dental Council to name a few. We understand the stress and anxiety that an investigation can cause you as an individual and also the far-reaching consequences it can have on your business, its repetition and indeed its very survival. That’s why at all is we take a proactive approach from the minute we’re instructed, we will liaise with you as well as investigators and any other relevant parties to ensure the best possible outcome in the shortest possible time. So if you’ve received the visit or correspondence from the likes of the Health and Safety Executive, GMC or the GDC, get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your needs.

Regulatory areas

Our lawyers can advise you in relation to the following regulatory areas:

Our experience

The cases below reflect the level and depth of our team’s experience

  • Representation of core participant during the Manchester Arena Bombing Inquiry
  • Operation Koukla representation of a suspect allegedly involved in a National Trading Standards investigation, concerning management of car insurance claims. Click here to read more
  • Operation Gilbert – Bradford Crown Court. representation of defendant in National Trading Standards prosecution, at Bradford Crown Court. Case involves alleged multi-million pound fraud connected with several model agencies and photography studios. Click here to read more.
  • Representation of company directors facing Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into data breaches
  • Representation of an interested party during Operation Resolve, the police investigation into Hillsborough
  • Representation of a key witness during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), including advice during the police interviews before the Inquiry and attendance at the Inquiry itself
  • Representation of client in relation to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – Residential Schools following receipt of Rule 13 warning letter
  • Olliers represented a substantial IT part seller with a multimillion pound turnover subject to a Trading Standards investigation into the authenticity of computer accessories.   A significant number of items were seized and notices were served under schedule 5 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  This was a complex investigation which subsequently focused on General Product Safety Regulations 2005.  Following a lengthy and protracted dialogue with the Trading Standards Team and the Local Authority Legal Department the investigation came to an amicable conclusion with our clients not even being interviewed under caution.
  • R v G – Represented a company director at Manchester Crown Court for trading standards offences. He was prosecuted for selling children’s chairs on eBay which didn’t pass the necessary safety standards and also used trademarked logos.
  • R v H – Represented an individual alleged to have been involved in manufacturing and selling counterfeit goods in the Cheetham Hill district of Manchester. The case was discontinued after negotiations with the prosecuting authority and co-defendants.
  • R v I – Represented a client for allegations of unlicensed pharmaceutical drug importation and sales, and money laundering. The client and her partner were alleged to be responsible for importing generic Viagra from India and selling it through various companies on eBay. This was a complex case involving large amounts of financial and transactional records.
  • R v J – Represented a client prosecuted for unauthorised treatment of waste at his waste management plant.
  • R v A – Environment Agency prosecution where the client was engaged as a director in an illegal and unregulated operation in handling or transportation of waste which was exceedingly hazardous.
  • Representation of disqualified director facing Insolvency Service prosecution for breach of director disqualification.
  • Acted for former partner in property investment business facing Insolvency Service prosecution for fraudulent trading in alleged ‘ponzi’ fraud.
  • Acted for company directors seeking to register small payment institution with Financial Conduct Authority following revocation of ‘fit and proper’ status.
  • Manchester Crown Court – acquittal of defendant prosecuted by Birmingham Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team.
  • Acted for directors of company facing allegation of re use of company name following insolvency ‘phoenix’ offence – section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Leeds Crown Court, acquittal of IT consultant facing NHS Fraud.
  • Representation of detention officers following death in custody at Harmondsworth Detention Centre Heathrow.
  • Representation of Prison Governor during police investigation following cell suicide at Merseyside prison (no charges brought).
  • Representation of solicitor facing SRA investigation following mobile phone communication with defendant in custody.

Regulatory FAQs

What is Regulatory law?

Regulatory offences are breaches of regulations which are usually investigated and prosecuted by non-police agencies such as local authorities, Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

Regulatory law refers to any legal requirements from the authorities in relation to your business or organisation covering compliance with health and safety, environmental and trading standards laws as well as financial regulations.

It’s extremely important that individuals, businesses and organisations are compliant to avoid potential consequences. If an organisation or individual are found in breach of an area of regulatory law, they could face financial penalties, limitations being placed on their business activity or even potentially a prison sentence.

Are Regulatory offences criminal?

Regulatory offences are often considered criminal offences. Regulatory offences that are classified as criminal are those that involve a significant breach of regulations, often leading to potential harm including to public safety, health and the environment.

If the regulating body considers it in public interest for an offence to be dealt with as a criminal offence, it may result in criminal proceedings. For example, if someone has died as a result of a major health and safety failure.

Individuals or organisations charged with criminal regulatory offences will be dealt with by the Criminal Justice System involving investigation, sometimes arrest, trial, and potential penalties if found guilty. Penalties for criminal regulatory offences can include fines, imprisonment, or a combination of both.

It’s important to note that not all regulatory offenses in the UK are classified as criminal and some offenses may fall under civil enforcement.

How are Regulatory offences prosecuted?

For an individual, business or organisation to be prosecuted the relevant authorities need to be satisfied that firstly there is a realistic prospect of a conviction based upon the evidence. Secondly, a prosecution has to be in the public interest.

Engaging the team at Olliers could be the difference between you and/or your company being prosecuted and no further action being taken or possibly some other form of out of court disposal.

We recognise the potentially far-reaching consequences an investigation and worse still a prosecution can have on you and your business, particularly those within the Small and Medium –sized Enterprises (SME) sector. We know that such circumstances can undermine the confidence that customers and staff have in you and the business; we understand the potential reputational and financial consequences including reduced work and increased insurance premiums, not to mention the potential costs in fines/compensation, if convicted.

It is for these reasons that, unlike many, we take such a pro-active approach to engaging not only with our clients but the investigators to achieve the best possible outcome, no matter what the circumstances may be.

Who investigates Regulatory offences?

In the United Kingdom, regulatory offences are investigated by a variety of enforcement agencies and bodies, each responsible for specific areas of regulation. These agencies have the authority to investigate and enforce compliance with the relevant laws and regulations within their respective domains.

Regulatory investigations and proceedings can be conducted by, but not limited to, the following organisations:

  • Health and Safety Offences: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in workplaces and public spaces. It investigates accidents, inspects workplaces, and takes action against those who breach health and safety laws.
  • Environmental Offences: The Environment Agency (in England) and the Natural Resources Body for Wales (NRW) are responsible for enforcing environmental regulations, including pollution control and waste management.
  • Financial Regulatory Offences: Regulatory offences related to the financial sector are investigated by various regulatory bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA),
  • Consumer Protection Offences: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Trading Standards offices are responsible for investigating violations of consumer protection laws. Trading Standards investigate and prosecute matters including sales and purchases of counterfeit goods.
  • Food Safety Offences: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and local authorities are involved in investigating food safety violations, including issues related to food hygiene, labelling, and contamination.
  • Public Health Offences: Regulatory offenses related to public health, such as those involving counterfeit drugs or medical devices, can be investigated by agencies such as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
  • Transportation Offences: Regulatory offenses related to transportation, such as breaches of aviation safety or road traffic regulations, are investigated by bodies like the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
  • Data Protection and Privacy Offenses: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigates breaches of data protection and privacy regulations.

These agencies have the authority to conduct investigations, gather evidence, and take enforcement actions, which can include fines, sanctions, warnings, and other measures to ensure compliance with the law.

What are the first steps in a Regulatory investigation?

With all regulatory cases the first action any agency will take is to investigate the matter. This will usually result in speaking to those suspected of being involved in the alleged offence at an interview conducted under caution. This should be conducted in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

Whilst most people may think of the police when they hear the words “interview under caution”, the fact is that, as well as the police, there are many other regulators and law enforcement agencies who have the power to conduct criminal investigations and interview suspects under caution, including the HSE; Environment Agency; Trading Standards; CQC and local authorities.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) sets out the powers and duties of the police when it comes to the investigation of offences, as well as the arrest and treatment of suspects. It also, sets out the rights of suspects and addresses key points around the admissibility of evidence.

Authorities other than the police, who are involved with investigating offences ought to have regard to PACE and the relevant Codes of Practice.  If you or anyone within your business is invited to attend an interview under caution you should seek independent legal advice from the experts at Olliers.

What happens after an interview under caution in Regulatory investigations?

Following an interview under caution, you may be told that the matter is at an end and no further action will follow. However, often the investigator will need to continue their enquiries including following up on points arising from the interview. In some cases, you may be told that you will be reported for a charge to be considered against you.

You could be requested to consent to taking part in an identification process, or to voluntarily surrender items such as an electronic device for forensic analysis. Such requests tend to be more common in purely criminal and police led investigations, as opposed to regulatory matters, although Trading Standards can often have a keen interest in website profiles, customer accounts and banking documentation whilst the HSE inevitably want to see evidence of workplace health and safety policies and procedures, so again it is absolutely critical that you seek legal advice and assistance at the earliest opportunity.

What do Regulatory solicitors do?

Regulatory solicitors support businesses and organisations in several different ways. They offer assistance putting together plans, procedures and policies, helping to ensure compliance in every relevant area, such as trading standards or health and safety.

Regulatory solicitors can also help if you find yourself in breach of regulatory laws or subject to an investigation by the authorities, providing expert legal advice and specialist representation during any proceedings.

Who are our clients?

At Olliers, our team of experienced regulatory lawyers acts for individuals and businesses facing investigation and prosecution by the full spectrum of authorities and regulatory bodies including the police; Health and Safety Executive (HSE); Trading Standards; General Medical Council (GMC); General Dental Council (GDC); Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); Health and Care Professions Council; CQC; the Environment Agency and those responsible for overseeing fire safety legislation.

What expertise do Olliers have in Regulatory law?

We take a pro-active approach and will do everything possible to help an individual or organisation under investigation to avoid a prosecution or disciplinary action. We look to establish early dialogue with investigators, exploring all avenues with a view to achieving a swift resolution. Our primary objective is to nip an investigation in the bud and minimise the impact upon our clients.

We understand the impact an investigation or prosecution can have upon the lives of an individual and their business or professional life. Many cases can be lengthy and complex and our team are able to assist from the outset through to conclusion including appeals, where appropriate.

Funding

Olliers can accept instructions on a fixed fee basis or on an hourly rate basis. If you have a policy of insurance with legal expenses cover then we can work with the insurance provider so you have representation of your choice. If you are unsure as to whether your policy covers you then we are happy to assist you and look into this for you.

Many clients that come to us think that if they are utilising the benefit of their legal expenses insurance then they need to use their insurer’s recommended ‘panel solicitor’. This is simply not true. Section 6 of The Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 makes this explicitly clear. It is our experience that insurers sometimes refuse to accept that the regulations apply in an attempt to impose their own panel of lawyers so as to control the supply and cost of legal advice. If you encounter any difficulties with your insurance company insisting you use their panel solicitor we would suggest you contact us as we are extremely experienced at successfully challenging decisions of insurers as to freedom to choose your own lawyer.

Expert regulatory lawyers (Nationwide)

If you are facing a regulatory investigation or the possibility of an investigation and wish to speak to one of our team please contact us at the earliest possible opportunity for a confidential discussion. We are able to represent you wherever you are based across England and Wales.

Our Regulatory Team is headed by our Managing Director Matthew Claughton and other members are Toby Wilbraham,  Zita Spencer and Gareth Martin. Each of our specialists has substantial experience in dealing with a range of regulatory investigations and prosecutions, as well as, complex criminal cases.

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