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.

Navigating the regulatory landscape

We understand the high stakes involved in building the right regulatory strategy for you and your business. Our specialists provide clarity in helping to resolve even the most complex of issues. They have deep experience of working with regulators across multiple sectors, to service the diverse needs of regulated businesses and individuals.

Understanding the rules and the rule-makers is vital. Our team know the Regulators and how to navigate the landscape in which they operate. We develop balanced and pragmatic compliance strategies for the smooth running of our clients' day-to-day business, to meet potential new business opportunities and to satisfy the particular requirements of transactions. Our understanding of any given sector allows us to anticipate and respond swiftly to changes in your business and the regulatory environment, and your evolving obligations.

Where the Regulators look to investigate or to take enforcement action, we have deep seated and wide ranging experience of dealing with all the issues, and of how to secure positive outcomes. We appreciate the common obligations of Regulators to act fairly, transparently and proportionately - with due consideration of the evidence, business and social impact. We understand the importance of developing and implementing robust strategies that protect our clients' interests and that take into account the Regulators' thinking, objectives and sensitivities. 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 can help evaluate and monitor any threats to your reputation and ensure that your brand is protected throughout the process.

Businesses are required to play an increasingly active role in the prevention and detection of money laundering and terrorist financing. Non-compliance increasingly leads to regulatory investigation and sanctions. Our team of specialists provide advice on anti-money laundering regulations to all regulated sectors including financial institutions, betting and gaming, legal and accounting professional services and HMRC supervised businesses.

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. 

Our Education lawyers are uniquely placed to advise both organisations and individuals in a highly regulated sector. Our lawyers know how to deal effectively with the full range of regulatory bodies acting in the education sector, including Ofsted, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Charity Commission, the Education Funding Agency, the Teaching Regulation Agency, the Office for Students and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. We recognise how important it is for educational institutions to not only ensure regulatory compliance but also maintain good relations with the regulators and we work with our clients to achieve those aims.

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, our contentious team is expert in representing clients under scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). 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.  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.

Financial Services Investigations and Enforcement

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.

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. We have deep seated expertise in Accountancy, AML Supervised Business, Betting & Gaming, Financial Services Investigations & Enforcement and Solicitors, as well as in relation to other quasi professional discipline investigations, such as the Takeover Panel.

Professional Discipline

 

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.

One of the striking features of recent times has been the increasing number and complexity surrounding regulation of Sport and our team has been at the forefront of this. Not only do we have experience of acting for a number of high-profile sports regulators and governing bodies, we also regularly act and advise regulated parties in the sports world – including top level clubs, intermediaries, athletes, sponsors and financial institutions on matters ranging from Financial Fair Play issues to the introduction and implementation of salary caps, third party ownership and associated rules relating to bridge transfers to the regulation of agents. The need to carve an appropriate commercial and legal strategy has never been more important and our team has been particularly active advising clients across a number of different sports throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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