Regulatory and Compliance (Dispute Resolution)

Regulatory

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period, during which EU laws continue to apply in the UK, is due to end on 31 December 2020. The UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement sets out transitional arrangements and negotiations for the future UK/EU relationship are ongoing.

Shaping and navigating the regulatory landscape

Our interdisciplinary regulatory practice group has a deep understanding of the public policy background to regulation across a variety of industry sectors.

We assist our clients in influencing the future direction of public policy in government and its attendant regulations and Regulators by engaging with policymakers on a number of levels. These include active participation in All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) and responding to proposed legislation and consultations.

Understanding the rules and the rule-makers is vital. Our team know the Regulators. We understand how they work and how to navigate the landscape in which they operate. We appreciate the common obligations of Regulators to act fairly transparently and proportionately - with due consideration of the evidence, business and social impact. These principles apply across sectors and borders.

For their part Regulators are increasingly well equipped and more willing to pursue those who do not comply with regulations. We develop balanced and pragmatic compliance strategies for the smooth running of day-to-day business, to meet any new business opportunities, and to satisfy the particular requirements of commercial and corporate transactions. Our understanding of any given sector allows us to respond swiftly to changes in your business and to its regulatory requirements.

If a dispute arises, we will work with you to develop strategies that take Regulators' thinking, objectives and sensitivities into account - to achieve your business goals and defray the cost of compliance.

Where a Regulator instigates an investigation, our team of civil and criminal lawyers work together to achieve a positive outcome. We ensure that disruption to your business is kept to a minimum and help you to maintain a constructive working relationship with the Regulator. Meanwhile, our Reputation Protection lawyers will ensure that your message is communicated in the right way, assisted by evaluation and monitoring programmes where necessary, and that your brand is protected throughout the process.

Our aim is to deal with regulators in a way that keeps our clients out of Enforcement. Where clients are in Enforcement, we protect them and their reputations, tailoring our approach to suit their individual needs.  Our lawyers have hands-on experience in dealing with contested regulatory matters and the employment related issues that frequently arise from them. This experience includes working with the SROs in the early 90s, the FSA throughout the noughties, and now the FCA and the PRA.

Contentious Regulatory and Enforcement
Dispute Resolution

Our Betting and Gaming Group provides market-leading advice across the full range of regulatory, corporate and commercial issues in the gambling sector.  Regulation is at the core of this offering.  We advise clients on all of their national and international regulatory needs, from everyday licensing and compliance queries through to complex licence reviews and regulatory enforcement proceedings. Our clients value this combination of regulatory expertise and strategic judgement.

Charities are besieged by demands: pressures of regulation, fast changing legislation, the day-to-day challenge of providing public services, and the need to act commercially. Spending donations on legal fees can easily be misinterpreted as wasteful and lead to bad publicity.

Our Charities Group understands these pressures and expectations. We use our cross-departmental expertise to advise on all aspects of the law enabling charities and not for profit organisations to operate more effectively and commercially in pursuit of their objectives.

Our Competition, Trade and Regulatory Group are leaders in follow-on and stand-alone competition law claims.  Members of the group have secured over $500m in global and European settlements including the largest damages ever awarded in England (c £67 million to be paid to Sainsbury’s by MasterCard). The Group also advises all types of client, from global multinational to entrepreneur, on every aspect of competition, regulatory and trade law.  In particular, we work with corporate clients to devise pro-active risk management strategies and compliance procedures.  We understand that good compliance procedure manages risk but does not stifle growth and innovation. With this in mind we devise the solution that is best for each organisation.

We advise our clients on how best to achieve their strategic objectives while complying with an evolving regulatory regime. We highlight gaps in compliance and how to implement the necessary procedures, as well as dealing with any ‘ad hoc’ incidents that may occur. Besides lawyers, our group is made up of data protection experts and cyber security specialists, so that our advice is all-encompassing. We offer guidance at every stage, from initial data audit and ongoing compliance to industry standard benchmarking techniques. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the Regulator tasked with policing compliance with the Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010). It has wide-ranging powers to investigate potential "unlawful acts" (i.e. breaches of the EA 2010) and issue sanctions when it finds that unlawful acts have been committed. We have deep experience in:

  • Advising clients in circumstances where the EHRC has expressed a concern that unlawful acts may have been committed. This includes navigating clients through the process, representing their interests and taking steps to protect their reputation;
  • Working on plans with our clients to ensure full compliance with the EA 2010. This includes auditing compliance with the EA 2010, advising on and implementing appropriate policies, procedures and training on the EA 2010;
  • Both lobbying for and representing an interested party in an investigation commenced by the EHRC. In particular, on behalf of our client the Jewish Labour Movement we lobbied the EHRC to commence an investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party. We have represented our client's interests throughout the investigation and have provided dossiers of evidence in support of our client's claims that unlawful acts have been committed by the Labour Party.

For further information contact Susannah Kintish.

With a market leading reputation established over many years, our team is expert in defending against investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). We have vast experience of the way difficult situations can play out in practice with the regulators, and we act for a wide range of clients, both businesses and individuals. As well as defending against the regulators, our lawyers are also expert in conducting investigations for clients who have uncovered issues that might have regulatory, civil or criminal repercussions, including suspected bribery, fraud, cartel activity, sanctions and money laundering breaches or market manipulation.

Where clients are in less distressed situations with the FCA and PRA, we advise both regulated and unregulated clients on the rules and obligations imposed on them under UK financial services legislation. We help to structure businesses and commercial deals; advise clients as to whether they are caught within the regulatory net and assist with any necessary authorisations and registrations; and provide practical and nuanced advice so that a client can meet ongoing compliance obligations imposed by the regulators and by other financial services law and regulation.

Contentious Regulatory & Enforcement
Investigations
Funds and Financial Services

We advise a wide range of corporate and investor clients on governance, both in a general advisory capacity and on specific transactions. This includes issues around the balance of power between board and shareholders, board composition, director responsibilities, remuneration, risk and opportunity, and stakeholder (including customer and employee) engagement. We combine our deep expertise of the relevant law and regulation with our experience of implementing best practice. We also recognise the importance of the wider impact that companies have on society, and we work with B Lab to make sure companies applying to become B Corporations in the UK enshrine their wider social and environmental purpose in their constitutions. We are actively engaged with the current public policy debate on proposed reform of governance, more regulation of the audit profession and proposals to increase director accountability.  We also have strong connections with industry bodies who are helping to shape future regulation.  

Employment 

Our full-service group of Life Sciences lawyers brings knowledge and passion to this dynamic but highly regulated sector. We focus on patent, regulatory, major contract, insurance and competition law advice and disputes across the life sciences sector.

In recent years, we have seen a sharp increase in investigations into business professionals by regulatory bodies. Our team is experienced and expert in defending these, having acted in many of these cases over the years. Knowing the law and the regulation is a given; our expertise lies in in the tactical nous and sensitivity we bring to what will play best with a body or tribunal. Our recent experience includes acting in investigations relating to accountants, insolvency practitioners, solicitors, and those subject to investigations by the Takeover Panel.

Adam Epstein leads the firm's Professional Discipline practice.

 

Compliance with the recruitment industry regulatory regime is key to running a successful recruitment business. We provide expert advice on the legislation governing the conduct of the recruitment industry, including on aspects such as how to guarantee valid opt outs from the Conduct Regulations, ensuring that temp to perm fee provisions are enforceable, how to resist contractor migration on contract termination, and audits and investigations by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. We also advise on the equal treatment rights given to agency workers under the Agency Workers Regulations and when these Regulations apply.

Team members provide advice on public procurement procedures and how to respond effectively to tender requests. We advise bidders on how to deal with challenges to tender processes, devising suitable solutions and getting bidders successfully reinstated where they have been unreasonably excluded from tender process. We also advise on the contractual aspects of public procurement, including reviewing, amending and negotiating contracts and identifying key areas of risk.

Where a Regulator instigates an investigation, our team of civil and criminal lawyers work together to achieve a positive outcome. We ensure that disruption to your business is kept to a minimum and help you to maintain a constructive working relationship with the Regulator.

Investigations

If the Regulator has instigated an investigation, our Reputation Protection team will ensure that your message is communicated in the right way, assisted by evaluation and monitoring programmes where necessary, and that your brand is protected throughout the process.

Increasingly tax is a political issue, which has led to increased levels of scrutiny and transparency, and national and international regulatory and reporting changes. To navigate these complexities, we work alongside our clients' existing teams of accountants, bankers, asset managers, trustees and family offices, devising and implementing the most robust and appropriate national and international tax strategies, legal structures and operational frameworks. While the payment of tax affects every business, navigating HMRC and its processes can still be complicated. Our Tax Disputes team has direct experience of working with and within HMRC. We can help your business reach a satisfactory agreement and build a solid working relationship going forward.

Technology has revolutionised the way we communicate and do business. It touches every aspect of our personal and professional lives and innovates at an exponential rate.  At the same time such a continuously evolving sector poses opportunities and challenges, in particular vis-à-vis regulation. While regulation lags behind the sector as a whole, regulators everywhere are looking for new solutions to manage the changing landscape. It is our view, however, that business must shape the agenda and encourage the right level of ‘certainty’. To help our clients do this, we address the key issues with a combination of deep legal knowledge, pragmatism and time spent anticipating future trends. We are a team made up of lawyers, computer scientists, cyber-security experts, developers and academics, providing a holistic service, which ranges from advice on government and public policy, regulation, navigation of commercial and corporate contracts and transactions, negotiations, investigations and dispute resolution.

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