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Recognised leading law practitioners
A cartel is effectively an agreement between businesses not to compete with each other. Agreements can be in relation to many things but often include price, output levels, credit terms, customer base, regional supply areas to name but a few. These agreements are prohibited by the Competition Act 1998 and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Individuals such as directors and employees can be prosecuted under the Enterprise Act 2002 for participating in certain specified cartels which involve price fixing, market sharing, bid rigging or the limitation of production/supply.
This is an area which has changed with the introduction of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which was created on 1 April 2014. The agency is derived from the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission. Prior to this change, the prosecution were required to prove that the individual director/employee had acted dishonestly which resulted in very few prosecutions in this area. The requirement to prove an element of dishonesty has now been removed and is likely to bring about wide ranging implications for businesses and their directors and employees.
A leniency policy is operated by which the first person through the door to confess to his involvement in a cartel and implicate others should result in immunity from prosecution. This whole area is somewhat delicate. It even involves rewards for tipping off. We can expect much increased activity in these areas.
Health and Safety
It is a stressful for time for those involved when a business is being investigated or prosecuted in relation to alleged health and safety breaches. These can be both regulatory investigations or criminal prosecutions brought by the Health and Safety Executive or other agency. The penalties can be wide-ranging and can have devastating effects not only financially but also on the reputation of the business. We can assist with advice and representation on compliance with the health and safety regulations.
Disciplinary & Regulatory
We are regularly instructed to represent individuals who face allegations of misconduct and are therefore subject to disciplinary proceedings by their governing body or organisation.
Our experience includes representing those in the police, healthcare professionals, lawyers and accountants. We are retained by the Police Federation to advise their members regarding disciplinary and regulatory matters.
We understand that the outcome of such proceedings is crucial and the consequences can destroy lives, reputations and careers.
Our clients often approach us because they have confidence in our discreet handling of such matters.
We are often approached by clients who want general advice. This may be in relation to a criminal investigation of which they are the subject or in fact how to protect their own position if someone close to them is the subject of an investigation or prosecution. We also advise individuals and companies in ensuring that they are fully compliant with various legal requirements. This includes the Money Laundering Regulations, risk, data protection, fraud prevention and health and safety.
Whatever the query is, we do our best to assist by providing concise and accurate advice.
This is a major and developing area of the law where "globalism now triumphs in a world where trade knows no barriers and the Internet increasingly dictates consumer access and behaviour". Trading Standards straddles it all. Bryan Lewin MBE and Jonathan Kirk QC.
Trading Standards Authorities aim to protect consumers while ensuring that a business can continue to trade in a fair environment. Prosecutions are usually a last resort following an investigation which identifies breaches of the law. Trading Standards have a wide range of disposals available to them which include cautions and fines. Individuals and businesses can be investigated and prosecuted. We have experience in providing both advice and representation to individuals and businesses at various stages which include considering due diligence and what precautionary measures have been taken.