Financial and corporate law
At 9 Bedford Row, our experienced team can deal with a wide range of financial and corporate law matters – from international fraud allegations to cybercrime, and from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutions to Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings.
We have the experience to identify and address risks before they escalate – for example, by helping ensure compliance with the Bribery Act 2010, or carrying out due diligence reviews or internal investigations.
When prosecuting, we prepare cases comprehensively, aiming to ensure a robust, efficient and effective trial. Defending, we advise on case management at an early stage and throughout the proceedings.
Throughout, we rely on our reputation for active case management and team leadership, working closely with those we instruct.
International fraud, bribery and corruption
Global initiatives against bribery and corruption have brought additional complexity to business – with organisations affected by legislation not just in their home countries, but also in local markets around the world.
If a business suspects that its agents or employees have been involved in corrupt activities, it will face challenges such as:
- how best to investigate and stop the practices
- how to minimise the risk of criminal liability and regulatory sanctions
- what to do to reduce the risks of civil claims from contractual counter-parties.
9 Bedford Row has the experience and knowledge to help businesses and individuals in identifying and addressing risks before they escalate.
We specialise in developing and testing programmes and policies to help ensure compliance with both the Bribery Act 2010 and local bribery laws – as well as carrying out due diligence reviews and internal investigations.
Much of our work is outside court, advising clients and negotiating on their behalf with authorities. But we can also represent individuals and companies in regulatory and criminal investigations both before courts and other tribunals.
We regularly work with foreign lawyers as part of a team – in an effort to ensure, where appropriate, that a global settlement is achieved.
We recognise that allegations such as bribery, fraud and money laundering can be highly damaging to reputations – and we have the experience to deal with such situations sensitively and discreetly.
Corporate offences in the UK
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, there has been an increased focus on criminal corporate offences in the UK – including not only bribery and corruption, but also money laundering, tax evasion and regulatory offences.
With new "unexplained wealth orders", there is also the unprecedented power for authorities to investigate the assets of businesses and individuals suspected of serious criminality.
9 Bedford Row offers a range of leading and junior counsel with advisory and advocacy experience in these areas.
A number of our barristers have worked in specialist prosecuting authorities such as the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority, while others have worked privately for high-net-worth individuals and even sitting heads of state.
Our practitioners have also worked with leading banks, facilitating and driving their ‘Know your Customer’ exercise in relation to politically exposed, special focus and standard-risk clients – in preparation for any review of accounts by the regulator
At 9 Bedford Row, our practitioners provide advisory and advocacy experience across many niche areas of cybercrime.
The term ‘cybercrime’, of course, is a broad one. On the one hand, it covers criminal activity, from computer-oriented activity such as cyber-attacks to IT-enabled activity such as fraud or theft (for example, cloning bank cards).
But it can also refer to the harvesting of commercially sensitive information from businesses – not necessarily a criminal offence in itself, but potentially devastating for companies that rely on their intellectual property.
Our practitioners benefit from a close direct link with a dedicated forensic investigatory team – who can either provide expert technical information or conduct hands-on investigations
Corporate manslaughter and HSE prosecutions
HSE prosecutions arising from corporate failures can be a significant risk to businesses – especially in sectors such as manufacturing, mining, travel and logistics.
At 9 Bedford Row, our team have successfully defended serious cases alleging corporate manslaughter – and our experience means we can work to help mitigate the penalties and reputational damage of an HSE prosecution.
We believe it is crucial to have specialist counsel advising at the earliest stages of an investigation, often pre-charge. This ensures that businesses are in their best position to defend a prosecution – and ensure that everyone in the business is properly informed of their legal responsibilities.
In addition to advice and advocacy regarding trials, our team can also advise on new and emerging risks. This assistance, benefiting from the veil of privilege, can often assist companies who are unsure as to their potential liabilities and exposure to financial and reputational losses.
In England and Wales, individuals or organisations have a long-standing right to commence criminal proceedings.
Such private prosecutions span a wide spectrum. For example, the Competition and Markets Authority, Transport for London or the Security Industry Authority may bring prosecutions; or corporations or trade bodies, for example, may use a private prosecution to protect themselves against complex fraud or intellectual property theft, in circumstances where the case’s complexity requires the intervention of specialist counsel.
Companies and individuals may also bring prosecutions if they consider that, by some form of deceit or dishonesty, they have been cheated or caused loss by another company or individual.
Restraint, confiscation and forfeiture
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 creates far-reaching powers to restrain and confiscate money and other assets believed to represent the proceeds of criminal activity – while other legislation contains similar powers.
Our team has the experience to deal with every aspect of criminal confiscation proceedings, including either search and seizure orders or restraint and receivership applications. We act on behalf of prosecuting agencies exercising those powers, as well as persons subject to them.
Without a criminal conviction, agencies may still seek to recover money by commencing civil recovery proceedings in the High Court. Our practitioners can commence and defend such applications for recovery; deal with any ancillary applications for freezing orders; or deal with the appointment of interim receivers, to preserve funds for recovery at the end of proceedings.
We can also act for third parties affected by confiscation or recovery proceedings – from the family members of defendants, to victims of crime who may have a prior claim to be recompensed.
Financial and corporate law profile
020 7489 2727
An ambitious criminal set, 9 Bedford Row has great strength in depth, the perfect blend of youth and experience, and broad criminal and military law expertise.
Chambers UK: 2016