Compelled Interviews Solicitors
If you are required to attend a compelled interview by an investigating authority in the UK, it is important to seek legal advice. The rules governing this type of interview will depend on the authority that is conducting the investigation, and this can impact your rights, whether you have a legal obligation to answer questions, and the consequences you might face if you fail to do so - in some cases, this may amount to a criminal offence.
Compelled interviews generally take place in complex and far-reaching investigations. Individuals can be compelled to attend an interview and divulge information in cases where they may otherwise be reluctant to answer questions voluntarily, or where the information is considered confidential.
There are several enforcement agencies that can conduct compelled interviews, including the Serious Fraud Office and the Competition and Markets Authority. Each of these organisations has different powers during investigations, and it is therefore imperative that you have an experienced and dedicated legal team representing you.
Legal guidance is the only way to ensure that you meet all of your legal obligations, avoid having to answer questions that are not relevant to the investigation, avoid potential criminal proceedings that could arise if you don’t comply, and protect your position. The team at JMW Solicitors has a wealth of experience in this area and can help to ensure that your rights are upheld if you are compelled to attend an interview. We have a track record of success in defending individuals accused of related offences.
To speak to our Business Crime and Regulation team about legal representation, your obligation to provide answers or any other matter related to compelled interviews, get in touch today. Call us on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to arrange a call back at a time that is convenient for you.
Why Choose JMW?
The team at JMW Solicitors has significant experience providing legal advice and representation across a variety of investigations. We specialise in compelled interviews conducted by a host of agencies.
Our Business Crime and Regulation department can provide advice tailored to your specific case, and will examine every possibility to protect your interests and deliver the best possible outcome. Thanks to our careful attention to detail, we are adept at handling complex cases, and our experience means that we often identify resolutions that other firms miss.
We can work closely with you to prepare for any interviews you are compelled to attend, and assist you at every step of the way.
Following a compelled interview, there can be criminal or regulatory repercussions for the interview subject or their business. By working with JMW, you will benefit from the expertise of our solicitors throughout this process; we can advise you on pre and post-interview considerations and provide any further legal services you need to bring the matter to a successful resolution.
What is a compelled interview?
A compelled interview is an interview with an investigating authority that you have a legal duty to attend under statutory powers. Your specific rights and obligations depend on the authority undertaking the investigation, as different investigators do not all have the same powers.
Several investigating authorities are able to conduct compelled interviews, including:
- The police
- The Serious Fraud Office
- The National Crime Agency
- The Financial Conduct Authority
- The Health and Safety Executive
- The Environment Agency
- The Competition and Markets Authority
Because each agency has different powers, it often takes legal expertise to help you understand and uphold your rights in each particular case. We can also object to questions that are not relevant, or advise you on your obligation to provide confidential information in interviews conducted under statutory powers.
In some cases, information obtained in compelled interviews can be used as evidence against you, or result in prosecution. This means that, if you are asked to attend such an interview, it is important to contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity for advice tailored to your circumstances.
FAQs About Compelled Interviews
How do compelled interviews differ from interviews under caution?
Compelled interviews differ from interviews under caution and voluntary interviews in a number of key ways, although they are both often used in similar contexts. Interviews under caution are typically used by investigating authorities who suspect that you are involved in a crime. They can take place following arrest or be arranged on a voluntary basis. In either case, investigators must warn you that you are under caution and advise you of your rights before conducting the interview.
A compelled interview is one that you have a legal duty to attend. You may also be required to provide answers and face legal penalties (including fines or imprisonment) if you fail to do so. These may be used in cases where you are not suspected of involvement in a crime, but have exclusive access to information that investigators need - for example, where a business is said to have committed a criminal or regulatory offence.
Do I need legal representation if I have done nothing wrong?
You should always secure legal representation if you are invited to attend an interview with an investigating authority. Even if you have done nothing wrong, it can be difficult to navigate your legal duties and uphold your rights. You may also need legal support in case investigators ask questions that do not have a bearing on the case, or you are asked to provide information that is private or personal, but not relevant to the case at hand.
Finally, there is a risk that you will incriminate yourself even if you have not done anything illegal, and a solicitor can help to ensure that you comply with investigators while also protecting your rights and avoiding self-incrimination.
Do I have to answer questions?
In most cases, when attending a compelled interview you will have a legal requirement to answer questions and provide information. However, you may not need to give information that is privileged or not relevant to the case, and this is one area in which a solicitor can provide vital support.
Talk to Us
If you need expert advice and legal representation during a compelled interview, or interview under caution, speak to the experienced Business Crime, Regulatory and Criminal Defence solicitors at JMW today. Call us on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to arrange a call back at a time that is suitable for you.