If your company or someone involved with your business has been accused of committing a corporate offence, such as fraud or a health and safety breach, JMW's corporate crime solicitors are here to help.
Our Business Crime, Regulatory and Criminal Defence team has extensive experience in corporate and regulatory offences, and we will help you put together a strong defence based on first-class legal advice. We have a deep knowledge of this area of the law and a track record of success in defending individuals accused of related offences.
To speak to an expert about a corporate prosecution or company investigation, contact JMW today by calling us on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible.
How JMW Can Help
The Business Crime, Regulatory and Criminal Defence team at JMW will provide legal advice when you or your business is being investigated or prosecuted. Some of the criminal allegations may relate to:
We have helped businesses of all sizes to create a watertight working environment, helping to protect their assets and staff against the repercussions of corporate prosecutions. We have a strong understanding of the complex legal issues governing business crime and corporate fraud, and will help your company to navigate these complexities while continuing to trade effectively.
FAQs about Corporate Investigations
What are the most common types of corporate investigation?
Corporate investigations may be internal or external, and relate to a wide variety of suspected crimes or acts of misconduct. Here, we have provided a list of some of the most common types of investigations that companies and individuals might be involved in, but this is not a comprehensive list.
- Regulatory investigations: Conducted by regulatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), these investigations are designed to ensure compliance with the regulations that apply to businesses. Some industries have their own regulatory bodies that are also empowered to investigate specific concerns, although these bodies will have different investigatory powers at their disposal. As such, it is important to work with a solicitor with a broad range of sector-specific experience.
- Tax investigations: Conducted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), these procedures investigate suspected tax evasion, fraud, or other irregularities related to tax payments. These may be accompanied by unannounced dawn raids, where HMRC officers arrive at one or more business premises simultaneously to catch occupiers unawares and collect evidence. Our team can support you to make sure investigators comply with the law at all times during this process.
- Criminal investigations: The police may investigate corporate involvement in crimes such as fraud, money laundering, or other illegal activities, often in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies. In these cases, multiple authorities may work together to carry out the investigation, and this can make things complicated for everyone, from staff members to board members. Legal advice can help you to navigate the complications of this experience.
- Antitrust and competition: Investigations led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might look into anti-competitive practices like price-fixing or market manipulation.
- Bribery and Corruption: These investigations concern violations of laws such as the Bribery Act 2010 and are often led by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
- Health and safety: Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into workplace accidents or unsafe working conditions. Employees, site visitors and members of the public who are injured in accidents at your place of business may be eligible to make a compensation claim against you, which can lead to financial consequences in addition to legal penalties. Working with a solicitor is vital during such an investigation.
- Environmental: The Environment Agency has powers to investigate suspected violations of environmental laws and regulations.
- Consumer protection: These investigations into business practices that may be deceptive, misleading, or unfair to consumers are often led by the CMA or local trading standards offices. Our solicitors have significant expertise in trading standards investigations and can help your business to mount a defence if you are under investigation.
- Trade compliance: Investigations related to customs, export controls, and other trade compliance issues are typically led by HMRC or other government agencies.
As we have said, this does not encompass every type of investigation with which you, your business partners or your company may become involved. If you need practical legal advice, representation in interviews or in court, or any other legal services during any investigation, contact the team at JMW today to learn how we can help.
What are the most common internal investigations?
As well as outside authorities conducting investigations, corporations may also carry out internal investigations for various reasons. This may enable a business to identify illegal activity and shield itself from liability by taking action, or have another purpose - there are many types of internal investigation for which JMW Solicitors provides legal services.
- Employee misconduct: Investigating allegations of harassment, discrimination, bullying, or other forms of misconduct within the workplace.
- Fraud investigations: Focused on identifying fraudulent activities conducted by employees, such as embezzlement, false invoicing, or misappropriation of company assets.
- Intellectual property theft: Investigating instances where intellectual property such as patents, trade secrets, or copyrighted materials may have been stolen or misused.
- Regulatory compliance: Ensuring that the company is in compliance with industry regulations and standards, such as data protection laws, health and safety regulations, and financial reporting standards. If businesses detect and address problems internally, this can be a way to avoid an investigation by an external regulator.
- Internal audits: Regular or ad-hoc financial audits to ensure accurate financial reporting and compliance with accounting standards and laws.
- Ethics and policy compliance: Checking adherence to corporate ethical guidelines or policies, including issues like insider trading or conflicts of interest.
- IT security: Investigating security breaches, data theft, or other cybersecurity incidents to determine their origin and impact.
- Whistleblower complaints: Investigating allegations raised by employees who report illegal or unethical behaviour within the company. There are important legal considerations when conducting this type of investigation and legal advice is absolutely necessary at all stages.
Our legal services can benefit any businesses or individuals involved in corporate investigations, whether they are witnesses, suspects or the authorities in charge of the investigation. That is because our corporate investigations legal department has a wealth of experience in advising companies and their employees on their legal rights and responsibilities.
At JMW, we can help to outline the scope of an investigation to ensure it is in line with legal requirements and addresses key areas of concern. We can also advise you on the regulatory landscape and potential legal pitfalls, which can help your company shape the investigation effectively.
If there is a risk of litigation, we can ensure that evidence is collected and preserved in a way that it can be admissible in court, if necessary. If evidence is collected in a manner that does not meet legal standards, we can use this when building a legal defence on a client's behalf. To reduce the risk of this occurring, our legal advisors can help to develop appropriate protocols and be present during interviews to ensure that the legal rights of interview subjects are respected.
Finally, if the investigation reveals issues that could lead to litigation, our solicitors can provide practical legal advice and help to prepare the company’s legal strategy. We can also work on behalf of individuals who are implicated or suspected of involvement in criminal activity, or whose rights may be at risk as the result of an investigation.
What legal services do I need during an internal investigation?
Whether you are a director or an employee of a business that is subject to an investigation, the support of a solicitor throughout the process may be vital. There are a number of reasons why this is important, not the least of which is that if you are suspected of involvement in criminal activity, your solicitor can help you to mount the strongest possible defence.
This does not only apply to suspects - witnesses involved in corporate investigations may also benefit from the support of a legal advisor. Our role as your solicitor is to protect your rights, help you navigate employment laws, and advise you on avoiding potential criminal exposure and other legal complexities. Additionally, we can ensure that the appropriate protocols are followed during interviews, help you to avoid any irrelevant questions, and advise you on supplying information that may be privileged.
Thanks to our experience and expertise, we know what powers regulators and investigating authorities have in each sector. That means we can make sure evidence is collected in accordance with the law, and that investigators uphold their legal responsibilities while carrying out searches or interviews. Our solicitors can also help you to understand how the investigation will unfold and anticipate what the next stages might be, including any further involvement you might have.
Talk to Us
To speak to an expert about a corporate crime matter, contact JMW today by calling us on 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible. Remember, we offer an initial free consultation for all corporate crime cases brought to us.