Business Defence and Regulatory Law
Regulatory Prosecutions and Enforcement
If you or your business are facing prosecution or enforcement by a regulatory body, our Kent based regulatory lawyers can help. We offer a complete regulatory defence service to you and your business against enforcement by the numerous agencies with powers to prosecute such as:-
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
The Environment Agency (EA)
Local Authority Environmental Health Officers (EHOs)
Food Standards Agency
Fire & Rescue Service
We recognise the importance of dialogue and constructive engagement with regulators and enforcers.
We understand how it is essential for businesses to preserve their working relationships with the bodies that regulate their businesses. However we will work with our clients and – where appropriate – carefully chosen consultancies, experts and Counsel to present our clients’ case to the best possible advantage at every stage, whether that be in the crucial early stages of an investigation, in response to a request or a formal interview under caution, in the making of representations and in defending any court proceedings (including appealing enforcement decisions and Notices).
If the matter cannot be resolved by dialogue and negotiations, our Kent based regulatory solicitors will represent you at a formal interview, under caution, under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and in any criminal proceedings which are brought. We can also advise on any related legal proceedings such as civil claims for compensation or at an inquest in the coroner’s court.
There are numerous areas of regulatory enforcement which may affect you and your business. Areas of enforcement action where we can represent you and your business include:
Health & Safety law
See our Health & Safety page.
Prosecutions are brought by the Environment Agency and Local Authorities both in relation to environmental incidents or failure to comply with complex waste or permitting regulations. Enforcement action may be brought under a number of statues and regulations such as:-
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.
Commonly prosecuted offences are for unlawful discharges of pollutants into rivers and streams, failures to comply with the duty of care for waste by sending waste to unlicensed sites or using hauliers who are not appropriately registered as waste carriers and packaging waste offences.
New guidance on the sentencing of environmental offences came into effect on 1st July 2014 and heavier fines are being seen against larger corporate defendants.
The Environment Agency will often seek a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 where an offender has profited through non-compliance with environmental legislation. The combined fine, confiscation order and legal costs in an environmental prosecution can be very substantial indeed.
New sentencing guidelines are coming into force for food safety and food hygiene offences.
A food safety incident can have devastating consequences. For example Pub firm Mitchells & Butlers was fined £1,500,000 after a customer died and 32 others suffered food poisoning arising from a Christmas lunch in 2012. The pub chef and manager were also jailed for fabricating food safety records relating to the cooking of turkey meat.
Food offences can be prosecuted under the following legislation and regulations:-
Food Safety and Hygiene (Regulations) 2013
Food Safety Act 1990
Fire enforcement is undertaken by the fire and rescue authority for the relevant premises and prosecutions are brought under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The fire enforcing authority can also serve Enforcement and/or Prohibition Notices. Also under Article 42 of the Order a fire authority is obliged to inform a licensing authority of any enforcement action which it takes. Therefore any enforcement action has the potential to jeopardise a premises licence – potentially putting the licence holder out of business.
In this heavily regulated industry key legislation applicable to waste regulation is:-
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010
There is also a special regime for hazardous waste governed by the Hazardous Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2005 and the List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005.
Leroy Bradley provides specialist licensing advice.