Our team has extensive experience of defending clients facing criminal investigations and prosecutions, at all stages of the matter.
We advise on investigations and prosecutions relating to:
- Health and Safety offences
- Environmental Legislation offences
- Waste offences
- Food Safety offences
- Planning offences
- Tree Protection offences
- Listed Buildings offences
- Trading Standards offences
With a cross-disciplinary team we are able to provide our clients with relevant and complete legal advice at all stages, to address all aspects of their case.
Avoiding a regulatory or criminal prosecution
It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure. We offer a compliance advice service, working with you to identify areas in your business where you might need support to achieve compliance with relevant regulations. When required we work closely with specialist consultants from a broad range of sectors, who can deliver practical advice to help you avoid criminal prosecution.
Dealing with regulatory investigations
Regulatory investigations can have significant financial and reputational impact on a business, so it is important to seek comprehensive legal advice as soon as you receive notification of an investigation by a regulator. Our lawyers can help you in all matters relevant to responding to a criminal investigation, including preparing statements, responding to requests for information from the regulator and attending an interview under caution.
Summons to court
A summons is an order issued in the Magistrates Court requiring someone to appear in court to face a criminal prosecution. If you receive a summons we can provide legal support and advice to help you prior to and at the hearing. This includes representing you at the initial hearing in the magistrates court, presenting mitigation on your behalf to minimise penalties and providing advice on plea.
Defending a prosecution
If you find yourself facing a prosecution by a regulatory body, we work with highly experienced barristers who we can instruct to defend you in the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court.
An appeal against a conviction or sentence
If you wish to challenge the decision of the Magistrates or Crown Court then we are able to advise on whether you are able to lodge an appeal against your conviction and/ or sentence.
Minimising fines and prosecutions for a public authority
Brachers was instructed to represent a public authority which was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for two offences; one for a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and one under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Initial details provided by the HSE suggested the offences merited fines of up to £5.8million. Working closely with a barrister and expert witness specialising in asbestos related cases. Having identified that it would be necessary to plead guilty to one of the offences, we focused on minimising the fine imposed and on avoiding a prosecution for the second offence. This involved the preparation of expert reports on the risks associated with asbestos exposure and assembling evidence of the Council’s considerable efforts to comply with the legislation. At a hearing in the Crown Court the Council was convicted of a single offence under the 2012 Regulations and we were successful in securing a reduced fine of £220,000, significantly less than the potential £5.8million fine the HSE had initially indicated our client could be faced with.
Minimising the impact of a breach of Food Hygiene Regulations
Brachers acted for a company and one of its directors, both of which were prosecuted by the local Council for three breaches of the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006. Brachers was instructed to advise both the company and the director regarding the plea to be entered for each offence and in respect likely penalties in the event of a conviction. Guilty pleas were entered on behalf of the company. However, as a result of discussions with the prosecuting authority we were able to persuade them to discontinue the prosecution against the director.
Securing a reduced fine for a breach of the Environmental Protection Act
The Environment Agency prosecuted four defendants for offences under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in connection with the unlawful deposit of soil and stones arising from demolition works. The material was used to create contours and embankments at a golf course. However the volume of material used was in excess of what could be lawfully deposited. Brachers was instructed to advise one of the four defendants at the interview under caution stage and to put forward mitigation on their behalf when the offences were sentenced in the Magistrates Court. We were able to secure a reduced fine for our client as a result of advising an early guilty plea.