Safety, Health and Environment (SHE)
Renewed government focus has brought Safety, Health & Environment issues into the regulatory spotlight in Scotland.
With this has come a recent move to greater penalties potentially being imposed when things go wrong. Organisations need tailored, pragmatic advice and solutions to these problems.
When a major incident occurs there's a requirement for:
- A rapid response; and
- Careful, co-ordinated management from the start
Therefore, legal advice and guidance should be sought in the hours, days and weeks that follow to ensure that the legal rights, reputation, and business of organisations and individuals are protected.
Our dedicated national team, north and south of the border, represents clients across a range of industry sectors investigated by Regulators including the Crown, the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities, environment agencies, food standards, trading standards and many more.
It is almost a daily occurrence that we hear of fatalities on our roads. In a great number of these cases there will be the question of the criminal liability of a driver.
Individuals in the course of their employment, and in their daily personal lives, can find themselves in such a shocking, traumatic and anxious situation whereby it is suggested that a road traffic accident may have been their fault.
Road traffic law is complex and a whole range of potential charges can arise in situations where there has been a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian or even where no other party is involved.
Penalties can be significant, including a custodial sentence, disqualification or significant monetary penalty. It is essential that legal advice is obtained at the earliest possible stage to protect the interests of the driver, and of their insurer, in the event that prosecution will follow.
Fraud and White Collar Crime
With increasing scrutiny and regulation, allegations of fraud and financial crime within organisations are becoming more common. Prosecutions will often be technically complex.
The Bribery Act 2010 makes a commercial organisation guilty of an offence if a person associated with it bribes another person to retain business for the organisation, or to retain a business advantage for them. Organisations must show they have adequate procedures in place to prevent such conduct occurring or can find that they and their senior management will be subject to prosecution.
The anomalous status of Deferred Prosecution Agreements in Scotland, in the UK context, means that very careful advice must be given to those organisations operating on both sides of the border. The prosecutorial regimes are different and jurisdictional arguments between Scotland and England could arise depending on the nature of the organisation's business.
Conviction for these types of offences carries a very real risk of a custodial sentence being imposed and has significant implications for the business as a whole. It is essential to have competent legal advice from the outset.
Food Hygiene & Food Safety
Every operator in this industry knows just how rigorous the scheme of regulation in the areas of food hygiene and food safety are - and how serious allegations that these have been breached can be for a business.
Recent legislative and regulatory changes in Scotland, including important changes in how businesses and premises are categorised, mean that those operating food businesses and food premises in Scotland find themselves under greater scrutiny than ever before.
The new regulator, Food Standards Scotland has proved itself highly proactive and responsive to regulatory issues and will be an increasingly strong presence in the industry.
We are able to provide training and advice tailored to meet the needs of each type of business to ensure compliance and protect against the possibility of prosecution.
Where breaches have been alleged, we offer 7 day a week coverage to provide advice and representation. We have experience of working closely with the regulator in such circumstances to ensure that any damage to the reputation and finances of any business is minimised and the best possible outcome is achieved.
In the event of a prosecution, we are able to provide clear advice throughout the court process and capable representation at court.
Safety, Health & Environment (SHE)
Whilst you may be in unfamiliar territory, investigations, interviews, court hearings and fatal accident inquiries are an everyday experience for us.
We will lead you through the challenges you face, ensuring you are informed, prepared and properly advised, every step of the way.
We are also best placed to advise on compliance issues and changes that can be made to your policies and procedures to help you try to avoid incidents, investigations and prosecutions in the future.
- Tailored advice and training: Managing SHE risks helping you reduce the possibility of incidents and regulatory scrutiny;
- Reviewing policies and procedures: The implementation of them and the adequacy of monitoring and audit functions;
- Advice on typical compliance pitfalls: Based on our experience of defending those who have been subject to enforcement action;
- Bespoke practical training sessions: Exploring relevant scenarios, and demonstrating the implications of failing to achieve compliance. Our approach encourages discussion and understanding and ensures key messages are delivered with impact.
Our team provide 24/7 representation to those involved in road traffic incidents.
We have extensive experience in the meticulous preparation of such cases that are often technical and complex.
- We ensure early negotiation and communication with the police and prosecutors and continue that at every stage in the process, safeguarding the interests of the insured and insurer throughout;
- In motor prosecutions, early intervention is vital to support the driver through any police interview and further dealings with the police to ensure that their position is preserved. Both in relation to the prosecution, but also for any potential civil claim;
- We offer clear, straightforward advice to both insurer and insured culminating in the best possible representation at court;
- Early correspondence with the various agencies involved also allows us to undertake immediate and essential enquiries, from locating witnesses, conducting locus inspections to having expert reports prepared where necessary.
This thorough approach to preparation ensures the best representation at Court, whether by conducting a criminal trial, negotiating a reduced plea of guilty, or even by having proceedings discontinued in their entirety.
Fraud and White Collar Crime
In conjunction with colleagues who are leaders in the area of corporate responsibility and regulation we are able to provide tailored advice on preparing businesses against the possibility of prosecution through robust procedures.
Our 24/7 service is also available to those being accused of any allegations related to corporate obligations and regulation.
These offences can carry a very real risk of a custodial sentence being imposed on individuals and serious reputational damage to corporates. It is therefore crucial that early legal advice and assistance is sought and retained.
Besides our team's extensive experience of interacting with the police and prosecuting authorities we can draw upon our firm's leading expertise in the areas of corporate responsibility, director's obligations and financial regulation - resources which the Crown cannot match.
What we are known for
Our extensive experience ensures you and your organisation are supported in dealing with any health and safety, environmental and regulatory incident or challenge, or any motor or criminal prosecution that you may face.
Our lawyers are responsive, to ensure you obtain advice when it suits you. We provide pragmatic advice and commercial solutions that works for your business.
We work alongside insurers as an integral part of their team, ensuring that the essential liability investigations are completed to enable an early assessment of liability to be taken, and evidence preserved to enable civil claims to be defended or settled.
We can provide crucial early advice and attendance when required, day and night whether that be at business premises or police stations.
Our Major Incident Hotline enables businesses to obtain urgent support following incidents to ensure the situation on-site is controlled, and the necessary steps are taken to protect the business and its reputation.
The SHE and Motor Prosecution teams are national with fee earners in Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham, London, Leeds, and Newport (South Wales).
Given the differences in legislation and court procedure north of the border the Scottish work is undertaken at our Glasgow office by our specialist Regulatory team based there, with our Regulatory Partner being supported by Senior Solicitors and a Paralegal.
Detailed elements of our services
- The defence of all Health, Safety and Environment prosecutions
- The defence of all Motor Prosecutions
- The defence of all Fraud and White Collar Crime matters
- The defence of all Food Hygiene and Food Safety matters
- Advising and supporting during investigations by regulators or Police
- Representing individuals during interviews under caution (or otherwise) by the HSE, local authority, Police or any other Regulatory body
- Defending organisations and individuals in any regulatory investigations and prosecutions
- Representing organisations and individuals at Fatal Accident Inquiries
- Representing individuals in court for any SHE, Motor, Fraud or White Collar prosecutions
- Representing corporates in court for any SHE, Motor, Fraud/White Collar or Food Safety prosecution
- Appealing against enforcement notices
- Challenging FFI Invoices
- Providing Compliance advice
- Training and learning development