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Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions Unit - Taylors Solicitors Legal Services
     


Regulatory Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

We understand the distress and disruption experienced by businesses facing investigation and prosecution by local authority regulatory bodies. An increase in the number of clients involved in Trading Standard investigations and prosecutions has led to the establishment of a unit within our experienced Commercial Disputes Team offering specialist expertise to clients facing Trading Standards and similar investigations.

An unstinting approach has to be adopted when dealing with Regulatory investigations. We have encountered excessive charges, out of time prosecutions, inferior expert reports and inconsistent witnesses. At times Trading Standards convince clients of the veracity of the claims made about their products and services without even being in possession of the evidence to support the case or properly setting the same out in advance.
 

Claire Barnes Key Contact

Claire Barnes
Associate

Contact Details:

Office: 01254 297950
Mobile: 07889 789839
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This leads to clients feeling compelled to provide information and submitting to taped interviews (without first taking advice) when there is no statutory requirement for them to do so and in the mistaken belief that it will assist their position. This makes it more difficult to defend or settle a subsequent prosecution when we are instructed, especially as such instruction is often received only after a summons has been issued.

Most prosecutions are of “strict liability” offences which means the only defence is one of due diligence and the prospects of successfully pursuing such a defence are often compromised by the client before we are asked to assist.

We can help whatever your circumstances and whether you are currently facing potential investigation, in receipt of a court summons or even already involved in a prosecution. As with everything prevention is better than cure especially given the fines that can be imposed on conviction (which can be up to £5,000 per charge in the magistrates court, rising to £20,000 or even unlimited per charge in the Crown Court, together with the recovery of the full costs of enforcement by Trading Standards). We can help to keep you up to date and compliant with the relevant legislation as well as check your recording procedures and assess your risk of investigation and prospects of establishing a due diligence defence in the event of prosecution. This can be done with the assistance of technical experts and accredited laboratories where necessary and within a defined and transparent pricing structure. All pre-emptive actions will form part of the due diligence process.

If you are being investigated we can offer specialist advice including detailed technical knowledge of the legislation and representation from the outset of the process, together with liaising with the investigating body to act as an effective professional barrier. If an interview is unavoidable, we will either prepare you in advance to deal with the allegations and questions expected as well as attend the interview with you or, if appropriate, make written representations on your behalf.

We currently represent individual traders and SME’s who are being investigated or prosecuted for matters related to:

  • Product safety;
  • Product recall;
  • Trade descriptions and copyright infringements;
  • Consumer credit and contract terms;
  • Advertising practices;
  • Sales practices including web-based sales; and
  • Defective products.

Our recent experience includes:

  • Advising in a prosecution and negotiating a reduction of the charges laid in a fire safety and Consumer Protection Act prosecution against a client involved in the textile industry which, coupled with successful mitigation, led to the imposition of fines which were a fraction of the amount feared at the outset of the prosecution;
  • Advising on written responses to a request for a taped interview where a subsequent prosecution was avoided within the strict time limits; and
  • Advising and implementing a product recall w¬ith minimal disruption and publicity to the business involved.
  • Where necessary we can assist in protecting your personal or corporate reputation from unwanted attention by the press and associated media.

Please contact Claire Barnes on 01254 297950 for further information as to how we may be able to assist you with your current investigation or to advise on risk and/or prospects of compliance and establishing the groundwork to support a due diligence defence.

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