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Investigations

Mishcon's team of fraud and dispute resolution lawyers have a wealth of experience in investigating and dealing with wrongdoing perpetuated against individuals and companies, and in recent years have been involved with some of the most significant fraud cases heard by the English Courts. The civil fraud team is Tier 1 rated in the Legal 500, and have particular experience in obtaining injunctions from the Court in order to promptly freeze assets and seize evidence.

We work closely with a range of private investigators, forensic accountants, offshore lawyers and other third party providers to deliver a comprehensive service covering all aspects of an investigation, from the initial discovery of wrongdoing through to restitution and resolution. For multi-jurisdictional investigations, we work with (and are founding member of) the International Fraud Group (IFG), a handpicked group of asset-tracing and enforcement specialists around the world, which now operates in over 55 jurisdictions, giving us a critical edge when securing recoveries in other jurisdictions.

Our experience / expertise in this area includes:

  • Investigating the theft of company funds and other assets, including cross-border tracing of money flows through complex legal structures, and taking action to recover those assets;
  • Working with employers to identify misappropriation and misuse of confidential information and intellectual property (including relating to patents, trademarks and counterfeit goods), by competitors or present or former employees, and utilising the powers of the Court to prevent use of that material by competitors and other third parties.
  • Carrying out complex investigations to investigate wrongdoing doing into companies in the period leading up to their insolvency, including misfeasance by directors, asset stripping and other unlawful activity.
  • Enforcement action for creditors against debtors who have taken deliberate steps to conceal or dissipate their assets, including conducting investigations to identify and take action against shell companies, sham trusts, nominee directors and other entities used to hide assets.
  • Obtaining disclosure orders against third parties, such as banks, corporate service providers and trustees, in order to expose and acquire evidence of wrongdoing.
  • Utilising the injunctive "toolkit" to obtain documents and information in support of other investigations (for example, regulatory or criminal investigations), to establish the fact pattern and identify wrongdoers, particularly in the context of multi-jurisdictional investigations. 

Wherever possible we seek pre-emptive relief to locate and freeze assets and preserve evidence, utilising the most powerful tools at the Court's disposal, including search orders, freezing orders and other injunctive relief. Some further details of these are provided below:

These injunctions allow us to enter and conduct a search of the Defendant's premises (business and/ or home) and/or forensically image their digital devices to seize evidence. No other UK law firm has more expertise in this area than we do.

Where there is a risk of the Defendant dissipating his assets in the face of a legal claim, we freeze the Defendant's assets (e.g. bank accounts, properties, cars, shares, cryptocurrency etc.). This ensures that any damages awarded are recoverable.

This injunction forces the Defendant to give back all stolen material immediately. It includes confidential hard copy information and often copies of computers and other electronic devices, such as mobile phones, to the Claimant's solicitors.

These orders are used to compel parties not otherwise involved in a civil claim to disclose relevant documents and information. Example targets include banks, internet service providers or professional services firms. We regularly obtain them to trace stolen assets or identify wrongdoers.

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