The process for regulatory enforcement
Each type of regulatory agency follows a specific process of enforcement that will normally be based on a documented enforcement policy. If a regulatory agency has reason to suspect that you or your business is in breach of regulatory laws, the usual process is that they will make initial inquiries and may commence a formal investigation. As part of the investigation, the regulator may also demand documentation, obtain witness evidence, and can serve statutory notices on suspects that place legal obligations on recipients to comply with their requirements.
Many regulatory breaches are ultimately dealt with by the criminal courts. Those who investigate these breaches have certain powers that are similar to police officers. Is includes questioning relevant people under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, known as PACE interviews, which are interviews under caution.
If a regulator informs you of any alleged breach, it is advisable to seek urgent legal advice from a regulatory lawyer to protect your business.
Fines for regulatory breach
Fines are the most common penalty for regulatory breaches committed by companies. In assessing the amount of a fine courts are assisted in some regulatory disciplines by specific sentencing guidelines. In such cases, consideration is given to the level of culpability and the harm, or risk of harm, caused. The turnover of the offending business, and other aggravating or mitigating factors are also taken into account. The maximum fine for many regulatory breaches is now unlimited, and significant fines are extremely common.
Who do we help?
Our expert regulatory lawyers have an excellent track record of dealing with regulatory investigations and prosecutions brought by various regulatory authorities, including but not limited to the Health and Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency, Care Quality Commission, Environment Agency, local authorities, Fire and Rescue Services, and the Police.
Any issues regarding regulations should be handled promptly. Regulatory agencies have a wide range of investigative powers. If you believe that you or your business are under investigation, you should not hesitate to contact our regulatory solicitors. They can provide clear practical, proactive advice and can help you deal with complex issues in a straightforward commercial way.