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Regulatory & Investigations

Running a business is becoming ever more complex and concerns may be raised about things which are unexpected and potentially damaging. Addressing these issues effectively when they first arise can save time, resources and reduce the risk of them turning into protracted problems.

We are experienced in dealing with regulatory investigations involving advertising, consumer, retail and media issues. These include complaints, investigations and civil and criminal proceedings threatened or brought by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Trading Standards Officers (TSO), Information Commissioners Office (ICO), Ofcom, Ofgem, The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Phone Paid Services Authority, The Groceries Code Adjudicator, The Charities Commission, The Electoral Commission, The Office of the Adjudicator (ITV contracts rights renewal), the Football Association, the Serious Fraud Office and other regulators impacting on creative, media, retail and brand businesses as well as sports clubs and players.

We can also assist with internal investigations arising from issues such as responding to confidentiality and data breaches, carrying out an independent review and then working with our client to take whatever follow up steps are necessary, including disciplinary matters and notification of regulators.

We advise our clients how to avoid regulatory interventions, and when they do occur the optimal strategy for dealing with them, to bring about the best possible outcome. We can also assist with any related reputation management issues. We have an experienced in-house criminal practitioner who works alongside our litigators, advertising, competition, data, media, sports and employment lawyers as part of a co-ordinated regulatory investigations team.

We are able to advise on dawn raids by regulators, particularly in relation to competition/anti-trust and bribery investigations, including conducting ‘mock dawn raids’ to ensure that clients are prepared to deal with such an eventuality if it arises.

Recent examples of work:

  • advised a well know online retailer in its successful defence of a trading standards prosecution
  • advised a major online platform in dealing with a CMA investigation
  • advised a major high street retailer in relation to a competition investigation by the OFT (now the CMA)
  • advised a major utility company in its dealings with Ofcom
  • advised a well-known businessman on an IPSO complaint
  • advised on the judicial review of the ASA decision to publish an adjudication against a major furniture retailer
  • advised a high-profile lobbying group in compliance issues with the Electoral Commission
  • advised concerns about a potential fraud involving both employees and contractors within a law firm

Related items

Fraser McKeating writes for Accountancy Age: Professional privilege and investigations – what do accountants need to know?

26 November 2018

In an article for Accountancy Age, Fraser McKeating explains how the law of privilege operates in the context of investigations.

Dispute Resolution Update - July 2018

27 July 2018

Welcome to our July 2018 Dispute Resolution Update which brings you news and our views on law and practice for dispute resolution. We’ve included articles on domestic disputes and international disputes, including summaries of recent cases. We have also included client guides on key aspects of dispute resolution.

Legal Professional Privilege

06 July 2018

This guide is intended to provide a brief overview of legal professional privilege. It also identifies some practical steps which will help to maintain privilege and concludes with a privilege “flowchart” and table of commonly used terms.

Supreme Court delivers key judgment on the availability of Wrotham Park “negotiating” damages

02 July 2018

The Supreme Court has considered an important question in relation to damages. In what circumstances can damages for breach of contract be assessed by reference to the sum the claimant could hypothetically have received, known as Wrotham Park damages, in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation he had failed to perform?

You’ve started – so you’ll finish

11 June 2018

Claimants commencing proceedings in the Courts of England and Wales may not be able to end those proceedings simply by serving a notice of discontinuance and can be required to take the matter to trial. In this case the claimants were not permitted to discontinue their claim for the recognition and enforcement of an arbitration award under the New York Convention.

Supreme Court upholds requirement to record variations in writing

24 May 2018

Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited is an important case. In fact, the opening paragraph of Lord Sumption’s judgment describes it as an “exceptional” appeal, raising “truly fundamental issues” of contract law.

Liquidator loses protection of a freezing order following serious failings at earlier ex parte hearing

14 May 2018

In Banca Turco Romana S.A. (in liquidation) v Cortuk and Others, the Commercial Court in London has underlined the need for applicants to give full and frank disclosure when seeking relief at ex parte (without notice) hearings.

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