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Regulatory & Investigations

Running a business is becoming ever more complex and concerns may be raised about things which are unexpected and potentially damaging. Addressing these issues effectively when they first arise can save time, resources and reduce the risk of them turning into protracted problems.

We are experienced in dealing with regulatory investigations involving advertising, consumer, retail and media issues. These include complaints, investigations and civil and criminal proceedings threatened or brought by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Trading Standards Officers (TSO), Information Commissioners Office (ICO), Ofcom, Ofgem, The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Phone Paid Services Authority, The Groceries Code Adjudicator, The Charities Commission, The Electoral Commission, The Office of the Adjudicator (ITV contracts rights renewal), the Football Association, the Serious Fraud Office and other regulators impacting on creative, media, retail and brand businesses as well as sports clubs and players.

We can also assist with internal investigations arising from issues such as responding to confidentiality and data breaches, carrying out an independent review and then working with our client to take whatever follow up steps are necessary, including disciplinary matters and notification of regulators.

We advise our clients how to avoid regulatory interventions, and when they do occur the optimal strategy for dealing with them, to bring about the best possible outcome. We can also assist with any related reputation management issues. We have an experienced in-house criminal practitioner who works alongside our litigators, advertising, competition, data, media, sports and employment lawyers as part of a co-ordinated regulatory investigations team.

We are able to advise on dawn raids by regulators, particularly in relation to competition/anti-trust and bribery investigations, including conducting ‘mock dawn raids’ to ensure that clients are prepared to deal with such an eventuality if it arises.

Recent examples of work:

  • advised a well know online retailer in its successful defence of a trading standards prosecution
  • advised a major online platform in dealing with a CMA investigation
  • advised a major high street retailer in relation to a competition investigation by the OFT (now the CMA)
  • advised a major utility company in its dealings with Ofcom
  • advised a well-known businessman on an IPSO complaint
  • advised on the judicial review of the ASA decision to publish an adjudication against a major furniture retailer
  • advised a high-profile lobbying group in compliance issues with the Electoral Commission
  • advised concerns about a potential fraud involving both employees and contractors within a law firm

Related items

The ‘Dominant Purpose Test’ Applies to Legal Advice Privilege For Now – But Will it Stay That Way?

28 May 2019

The aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”), has reportedly asked the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal a High Court ruling that the dominant purpose test applies to legal advice privilege. The High Court itself refused permission to appeal, confirming its earlier ruling that if a multi-addressee email is sent internally to non-lawyers for the dominant purpose of seeking commercial views, and an in-house lawyer is copied in – for information or even for legal advice – the email as sent to the non-lawyer is not protected by legal advice privilege unless it (or any response) discloses the nature of the legal advice.

Dispute Resolution Update - April 2019

24 April 2019

Welcome to our April 2019 Dispute Resolution Update which brings you news and our views on law and practice for dispute resolution. We’ve included articles on domestic disputes and international disputes, including summaries of recent cases. We have also included client guides on key aspects of dispute resolution.

A guide to the litigation process including guidance on the disclosure pilot scheme

21 March 2019

If you are involved in a dispute you need to know: what options there are for resolving the dispute; what litigation involves; the steps from the start of proceedings to trial; what parties to proceedings have to do; the fundamentals of court procedure; how to use legal advisers efficiently and cost effectively; and what happens after judgment.

A guide to the litigation process

21 March 2019

If you are involved in a dispute you need to know: what options there are for resolving the dispute; what litigation involves; the steps from the start of proceedings to trial; what parties to proceedings have to do; the fundamentals of court procedure; how to use legal advisers efficiently and cost effectively; and what happens after judgment.

Going out on a limb - English courts and overseas defendants: jurisdiction challenges and the “three limb” test

06 February 2019

When a dispute involves a foreign party or events that took place in another jurisdiction, questions often arise as to where the dispute should be determined. The forum in which the dispute is determined can make a great deal of difference. It is therefore important for potential litigants to know where they can commence proceedings and whether they can resist claims brought against them in the “wrong” jurisdiction. In a recent case the English Court of Appeal considered the test that will apply when deciding whether to permit a claimant to sue a “foreign” defendant in this jurisdiction. This article was originally published in the Commercial Litigation Journal in the March/April edition.

Dispute Resolution Update - January 2019

16 January 2019

Welcome to our January 2019 Dispute Resolution Update which brings you news and our views on law and practice for dispute resolution. We’ve included articles on domestic disputes and international disputes, including summaries of recent cases. We have also included client guides on key aspects of dispute resolution.

Court of Appeal finds no litigation privilege in internal emails discussing commercial settlement of dispute

09 January 2019

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by West Ham football club in its application to inspect certain emails sent internally amongst board members of E20 Stadium LLP (“E20”) and between E20’s board members and stakeholders, in respect of which E20 asserted litigation privilege. The emails were created with the dominant purpose of discussing the commercial settlement of E20’s dispute with West Ham over the club’s rights to use the London Olympic Stadium when litigation was in contemplation. The Court held that litigation privilege does not extend to documents concerned with the settlement or avoidance of litigation where the documents neither: (a) seek advice or information for the purpose of conducting litigation; nor (b) reveal the nature of such advice or information.

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