Legal Defence for Business Owners and Directors

With success comes responsibility and it may come as no surprise that people who run businesses are often seen as prime targets for prosecution when those businesses fail to comply with the Law.

Hiding behind the corporate veil is usually no defence as the Courts have in recent years been much more ready to impose liability upon the people that run businesses.

In response, Rundlewalker has set up a Department dedicated to advise and represent professional people who face criminal prosecution. You may also be pleased to learn that we have a number of options to help you fund your defence.

Prosecutions may come from a number of directions. If you face any of the following prosecutions please call us urgently.

1. Corporate Fraud
2. Personal Fraud
3. Trading Standards
4. Environmental Health and Health & Safety
5. Bribery and Corruption
6. VAT and Tax Avoidance
7. Money Laundering
8. Confiscation Proceedings

Corporate Fraud: Fraud occurring within an organisation is known as corporate fraud. This involves deliberate dishonesty to deceive the public, investors or lending companies, usually resulting in financial gain to the perpetrator or organisation. Examples include:
1. Asset stripping
2. Fraudulent trading
3. Illegal share dealing
4. Publishing false information.

Personal Fraud: Fraud is any type of criminal activity, defined as:
'abuse of position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone's rights for personal gain'.
Put simply, fraud is an act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party. The general criminal offence of fraud can include:
1. Deception whereby someone knowingly makes false representation
2. Or they fail to disclose information
3. Or they abuse a position.

Local Authority Trading Standards: Trading Standards aim to protect consumers and the interests of reputable businesses so that no one supplier or business has an unfair commercial advantage over another. Prosecutions can arise in relation to the following: –
1. Trade Descriptions
2. Trademark and Copyright
3. Misleading prices and advertising
4. Consumer credit and contract terms
5. Product safety.

The Environmental Health & HSE: EH & HSE have been given wide powers of investigation and prosecution into businesses that operate dangerously or cause damage the environment. Businesses and business owners have to be very vigilant nowadays and to ensure that consumers, the public and staff are not put at risk.

Bribery & Corruption: The Bribery Act 2010 affects all individuals in the UK, all UK businesses and all non-UK businesses that conduct any of their business in the UK. Under this Act there are four criminal types of offence:
1. Bribing another person
2. Asking for a bribe or taking a bribe
3. Bribing a foreign public official
4. Failing to stop a person associated with a business bribing another person to benefit that business.

If a senior person in a business knows about any of the first three offences happening in their company, they can be found guilty of an offence under the Bribery Act 2010. Any company can be found guilty under number 4, above, if any of its employees, subsidiaries, agents or joint-venture partners commit an offence under this Act.

VAT & Tax: HMRC’s stated aim is to put tax avoidance at the heart of its compliance and enforcement program. Gone are the days when tax avoidance was considered acceptable.

Prosecutions by HMRC can go back several years and often arise out of the blue. It is important that the best financial and legal advice is obtained. At an early stage we shall involve expert accountancy advice coupled with a pragmatic approach.

Money-Laundering: The exchange of money or assets that have been obtained as a result of criminal activity and passing those assets through a legitimate business in order to “clean” or legitimise the assets. Organised and successful crime could not operate without money-launders and HMRC and the Crown take money-laundering very seriously.

Confiscation Proceedings: A Confiscation Order is made after a person has been convicted of a lifestyle offence that has resulted in a financial gain. The purpose of a Confiscation Order is to prevent a Defendant from benefiting from the proceeds of their crime. The Court determines the amount of benefit received from the relevant criminal conduct and assesses the defendant's available assets. The Court will then order repayment with the sanction of a further prison sentence in default.

Confiscation law is complex and may seem very unfair to a defendant. Confiscation proceedings therefore require an experienced defence strategy and careful and detailed analysis by a team of accountants and lawyers who are committed to getting you the best result.

Funding your Defence
It is often said that the State and its agencies that bring prosecutions have unlimited funds to devote whereas the defendant is usually of modest means. This makes for a potentially unequal struggle unless all the funding options are explored. We recognise how important it is to secure adequate funding so that your defence can be robust and comprehensive.

Our funding options include: –
1. No charge attendances at the police station if you are to be interviewed.
2. Fixed fee quotes in the Magistrates Court, or
3. Means tested Legal Aid if eligible.
4. Non-means tested Legal Aid in the Crown Court.
5. Regular and accurate costs estimates.
6. Payment plans.

We are very happy to receive calls from people who face prosecutions so that we can take a preliminary view upon the investigation or prosecution and offer initial advice upon the best way to proceed and to discuss funding options at an early stage.

All preliminary calls will not be charged and will be on a no obligation basis.

If you have an issue regarding Criminal Law or need legal advice, please contract our Crime Team who will be pleased to assist. Rundlewalker Solicitors on 0800 015 2568.

Philippa Jefferies, Solicitor-Advocate: phiIippa.jefferies@rundlewalker.com
Julia Brassington, Solicitor-Advocate: julia.brassington@rundlewalker.com

Important Information For Your Protection:
We welcome your enquiry but please be assured that the use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm, does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.