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Solicitor Manchester Business Crime & Regulation
Catherine is a Solicitor within JMW’s Business Crime and Regulation department, having joined the firm in 2014. Catherine has considerable knowledge and experience in handling complex and serious cases with particular emphasis on Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Regulations, Fraud, Financial Crime, Serious Crime and Confiscation proceedings.
Catherine graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Law with First Class Honours and gained a distinction upon completing the LPC at the University of Law, Manchester.
Trading Standards and Consumer Protection
Catherine has substantial experience in advising clients in respect of Consumer Regulations, including aggressive sales allegations, cancellation periods, mis-selling and unfair commercial practices. Catherine has advised and appeared as ‘legal expert’ on behalf of the BBC in respect of their investigations into ‘rogue traders’ and companies appearing to breach consumer Regulations. Catherine currently advises a Channel 4 production in respect of potential breaches of Consumer Regulations.
Catherine’s expertise also allows her to advise traders and businesses as to whether their existing sales methods, techniques and practices are in breach of any Consumer Regulations and advise whether any revisions to a business’ systems and in particular sales strategies should be made.
Catherine has represented clients in proceedings brought by Trading Standards, including those where clients face allegations under the Fraud Act or breaches of Consumer Regulations. Catherine applies a robust approach to all case and has a meticulous eye for detail. She is able to quickly analyse and assess large volumes of evidence that tend to be served in the case in which she acts and is considerate and compassionate to the impact that a criminal investigations and prosecutions can have on businesses, individuals, their finances, employees and reputation.
R v Entity & MJ – Trading Standards prosecution. Representation of company and company director charged with offences of fraudulent trading and fraud by false representation. Alleged fraudulent trading by the company of in excess of £3 million. Telford Crown Court.
R v SD – Trading Standards prosecution. Alleged offences of fraud by false representation due to role within company with stated turnover in excess of £1 million. Ipswich Crown Court
R v LS - Company Director who was charged with offences of conspiracy to defraud and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – misleading and aggressive commercial practice. Financial benefit in excess of £1.5 million. Leeds Crown Court.
Client CB – Investigation by Trading Standards into multiple breaches of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and Consumer Rights Act 2015. Representation at interview resulting in agreement in no charges and consultation under the Enterprise Act 2002.
Catherine represents clients alleged to be involved in complex criminal cases including: Murder; Serious Assaults; Fraud; Money Laundering; Conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs; Firearms offences; Sexual offences and Motoring offences.
Catherine regularly attends the police station to provide advice and assistance to clients and represents clients in both the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court.
R v CK – Representation of ex-professional football player and businessperson in allegation of sexual assault. Lesser offence accepted and resolved with a non-custodial sentence following extensive mitigation. Manchester Crown Court.
R v MR - Allegation of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit violent disorder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Prosecution case based solely upon telephone evidence. Defendant found not guilty after 4 week trial. Manchester Crown Court.
R v WD - Allegation of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence. Lesser offence accepted and resolved with a non-custodial sentence. Manchester Crown Court.
R v AD – Representation of Financial Advisor charged with fraud by abuse of position, false representation, making an article for use in fraud and carrying out a regulated activity whilst not authorised. Proceedings involving cross-border element with alleged offences in USA. Leeds Crown Court.
R v TB – Allegation of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Complex conspiracy allegedly involved 10 other co-defendants. The case further involves allegations of child exploitation and money laundering. Case ongoing. Preston Crown Court.
Catherine represents clients who face complex confiscation proceedings, including cases in which the prosecution allege million pound benefit figures and hidden assets. In addition, Catherine has extensive experience in revisions to original confiscation orders (section 22 and section 23 POCA proceedings) and represent parties with a third party interest in the confiscation proceedings.
R v PA – Representation of the head of serious Organised Crime Group with alleged hidden assets in excess of £9 million. Eventual result of benefit figure of approximately £6 million and available assets of £2,500.00 with no finding of hidden assets. Liverpool Crown Court.
R v SR, LB and JB – Representation of three individuals in the largest confiscation proceedings prosecution by Greater Manchester Police with alleged benefit figure in excess of £12 million and available assets alleged in excess of £3 million. Manchester Crown Court.
R v DL – Representation in proceedings involving application to discharge Restraint Order and section 22 application. Prosecution applied to increase confiscation order (section 22 application) by £6,000.00. Following representations that the defendant had accumulated sums from legitimate income, original figure was halved.
Blogs and Articles
In order to keep up to date with changes, current events and as part of continued professional development in her areas of expertise, Catherine regularly writes blogs and articles, which can be viewed under ‘Blog Posts by Catherine O’Rourke’ below.
Catherine has been the Manchester Young Solicitors Group Health and Wellbeing Director for the past 2 years. In this role, Catherine enjoys hosting seminars and fitness classes for Solicitors across Manchester to encourage a healthy work-life balance.
In her spare time Catherine loves everything sport related and is always seeking a challenge, whether it be a half marathon, Tough Mudder or the 3 Peaks Challenge! Catherine captains JMW’s successful netball team and enjoys regular netball matches and socials with her colleagues.
Blog Posts by Catherine O'Rourke
14th February 2020
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences