Internal Investigations Solicitors
Our experienced crime and regulatory lawyers are on hand to provide advice and assistance to businesses and individuals before, during and after any regulatory investigation or intervention.
The team at Olliers can conduct and/or assist with internal investigations, which in some cases can help avoid an investigation by external agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO); HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC); Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency, amongst others. We will work with you to tailor any investigation to your particular needs.
When is an internal investigation needed?
The need for an internal investigation may be triggered by any number of events, for example, whistleblowing; a serious untoward incident; discovery of a potential regulatory breach; prior litigation or even through issues highlighted in the media.
What are the benefits of conducting an internal investigation?
A well planned and thorough internal investigation may help avoid an external investigation, however, with advice and assistance from the team at Olliers, it will also:
- Provide support and advice for the business and its staff who may be significantly impacted by the issues giving rise to the investigation;
- Establish whether there have been any regulatory breaches or criminal conduct, including any which may necessitate self –reporting, for example, to the SFO, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or even the National Crime Agency (NCA);
- In the event of an external investigation, it will help inform the strategy for dealing with the same to achieve the best possible outcome. This may include the instruction of experts, preparing for interviews with the regulator and negotiating with the authorities on your behalf.
- Identify any weaknesses or gaps in the business’ current policies and procedures and advise how best to address the same in order to future –proof against repeat situations;
- Ensure that any disruption caused to the business during the course of an investigation is reasonable and proportionate;
- Help to manage the potential reputational damage that may arise.
It is worth noting that careful consideration will need to be given to issues around the privilege which may or may not attach to documents/items collated or created during the investigation. It is a complex area which has been the subject of a number of high profile judgements in the recent past and once again reinforces the importance of obtaining legal advice and assistance.
In simple terms the following is worth bearing in mind:
Legal advice privilege relates to confidential communications between lawyers and their clients made for the dominant purpose of seeking legal advice.
Litigation privilege protects any documents or communications between a lawyer, their client or a 3rd party, which were created for the dominant purpose of preparing for existing or anticipated litigation.
The team at Olliers are highly regarded for our pro-active approach. We recognise the impact any investigation can have on a business, its staff and its customers/clients. When instructed, we will do everything possible to ensure that your internal issues are handled appropriately and effectively in order to minimise the risk of criminal, regulatory or civil proceedings against the company and its people.
At the outset we will liaise with you to establish the scope of the work to be undertaken. This will include identifying the purpose of the investigation and who will be involved, ensuring that they are independent and not subject to influence or bias. We will also set out a timetable and consider the need for any immediate notification to the appropriate regulator(s), authorities or possibly your insurers. Where necessary we can also put you in touch with employment law specialists to deal with any associated HR issues and PR specialists should you require a strategy for dealing with the media and external enquiries.
The expectation is that businesses and organisations who take the pro-active approach of conducting an internal investigation should bear their own costs. Olliers can accept instructions on an hourly or fixed fee basis.
If you require advice and assistance with an internal investigation or if you are subject to an external investigation, then do not delay and get in touch with the regulatory team at Olliers.
Our team is headed by our Managing Director Matthew Claughton and other members include Gareth Martin, Toby Wilbraham and Zita Spencer. Each of our specialists has substantial experience in dealing with a range of regulatory investigations and prosecutions, as well as, complex criminal matters. Please contact us on 0161 8341515 (Manchester) or 020 3883 6790 (London) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.