Fraud and Regulatory Investigations
A significant amount of our caseload involves offences of fraud and dishonesty. Fraud cases often involve serious financial loss and can be complex both legally and factually. Serious fraud cases almost inevitably create a vast amount of documentation which we are experienced in handling. We will often make papers available to our clients in electronic format.
Our clients in such cases are often professional people who are not familiar with the criminal justice system. We do our best to ensure that our clients are kept fully informed of the progress of their case throughout the often lengthy procedure and that their case receives the level of attention it requires at all times.
We were a member of the Legal Aid Agency's now defunct Serious Fraud Panel for a number of years. Only firms on that Panel could deal with cases designated as Serious Fraud Cases. This panel was replaced by the "Very High Cost Cases Panel" in January 2008 (also now defunct). Only members of this Panel were able to deal with cases which are deemed to fall within the "VHCC" structure. These cases are administered by the LAA's Complex Cases Unit and extend beyond but also include fraud cases.
Any serious fraud case will be handled by a senior solicitor. Most serious fraud cases require work from other members of staff working as a team under the supervision of the senior solicitor to ensure that the case is fully and thoroughly prepared for trial.
Fraud cases do not always fall within the VHCC framework. However, the issues involved are often no less complicated. The police investigation may still have created huge amounts of paperwork. In all such cases, a senior solicitor will have day to day conduct of the case.
Examples of the types of fraud cases in which we have acted include:-
The firm undertakes certain regulatory work involving investigations by regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority or investigations and prosecutions by other regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive or the Trading Standards Authority.
We were recently involved in the FCA-led international investigation into the setting of LIBOR by the UK banks which was an extremely high profile example of our regulatory work. Charges were not brought against our client and we acted through the internal bank investigation and during interviews with the FCA. We were also involved in an internal bank investigation representing the individual employee on an internal investigation into Foreign Exchange dealing.
We have defended clients for breaches of health and safety legislation (including manslaughter by gross negligence) and offences prosecuted by local authorities and Trading Standards from matters as diverse as building regulation breaches, health and safety breaches in construction, breaches of regulations in the manufacture of soft furnishings and fraud within the sale of telephone equipment and telephone service contracts and fraud in relation to a betting syndicate.
Whether the potential offence investigated is complex such as the wholesale selling of second hand cars which are said to have been "clocked" or more straight forward, we have the ability and expertise to help. As an example, we had the summons withdrawn against a company who sold a sofa in a trading standards test purchase which did not meet to the fire safety regulations for soft furnishings.
Legal aid is occasionally available if individuals are charged or interviewed in certain circumstances but these cases are much more often funded by the employing company or insurance. All enquiries of this nature should in the first instance be addressed to Steven Bird.