BUSINESS & SPECIALIST CRIME
Our Business and Specialist Crime Team stands apart from the market: members appear exclusively in properly funded and well-resourced cases, allowing them to dedicate the time and commitment which every single one of our instructing solicitors and lay clients requires. This is crucial given the life-changing and long-lasting repercussions these cases so often involve.
The team is made up of QCs and juniors with vast experience in the most serious, high profile business and specialist criminal cases. Members act for public figures, high-net-worth individuals, companies, government agencies and professionals.
With strength in depth, the team prosecutes and defends all forms of criminal and regulatory proceedings, including the most difficult and complex cases before the appeal courts.
Our team takes a committed approach to client care, case preparation and advocacy, reflecting the life-changing personal and financial consequences, which can result from a criminal prosecution, and the public interest which is often at stake.
Members of the team are recommended in leading directories for Fraud, Crime, Financial Services, Business and Regulatory Crime. A number are graded at the highest possible level by the prosecution authorities, including Crown Prosecution Service Grade 4 and the SFO “A” list.
Our barristers are the authors of key texts in the field, including Insider Dealing: Law and Practice, and they write regularly for leading legal and professional journals.
We have acted in cases involving almost every criminal offence known to English Law, but the focus of chambers is on several key areas:
- Business Crime and Fraud, including all forms of investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and many other government departments and agencies
- Specialist Crime on behalf of high-net-worth individuals, ranging from sexual offences to assault, blackmail and perverting the course of justice.
- Medical Crime of all kinds, up to and including offences of gross negligence manslaughter by doctors
- Police Crime, including perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office, by police officers occupying the most senior ranks in the service
- Health & Safety Offences, including those involving fatalities or serious injury
- Prosecution, including on behalf of government agencies and private prosecutions; intended to right a personal wrong or to seek financial remedies for the victims of fraudulent conduct
Further details on each of these specialist areas are set out below.
The team acts at every stage of a criminal case:
Interview – we represent and advise clients who are interviewed under caution by prosecution agencies of every kind. In many cases we provide advice and support to solicitors, including the tactical approach to interviews and statements. We also have an accredited advanced police station advisor as a member of the team.
Pre-investigation and investigation before charge – whether in serious personal criminal cases or the most complex national and international commercial regulatory investigations, members assist with pro-active strategy and preparing statements, evidence and representations against charge to the prosecution authorities.
Preliminary and ancillary applications in criminal courts – ranging from Restraint Order variations to applications to dismiss charges or stay proceedings altogether. Many of our team members draw on complementary expertise in police law: their knowledge of police procedure is particularly useful in challenge of charges and exclusion of evidence.
Criminal trials – although the team’s focus is on complex Crown Court trials, sometimes lasting many months, members also regularly appear in short trials, and in magistrates’ courts, for both individual and corporate clients.
Criminal appeals – the team has appeared in some of the most important and ground-breaking criminal appeals of recent years, for example the authorities for the “double jeopardy” rule; the content of a judge’s summing up; and the scope of criminal prosecutions for extradited defendants.
Related inquests and professional disciplinary tribunals – given the specialist skills available at Serjeants’ Inn, Chambers is particularly well equipped to handle cases which overlap between the criminal, regulatory and disciplinary arenas. We regularly act where there are both criminal and related proceedings: our approach is informed by our experience as market-leaders for inquests, professional discipline and regulatory law and civil claims in the healthcare and police sectors.
Our cases are often high-profile, for example the defence of the criminal and disciplinary proceedings relating to former England football captain John Terry’s alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand and the recent prosecution of a Schroders Investment Management trader for insider dealing. Our barristers frequently appear on national TV news and in other media as commentators in the field.
In many of our specialist criminal cases there is a real risk of a long prison sentence, draconian financial orders and restrictions of licence or other orders, which may continue many years into the future.
Our approach to every criminal instruction is to get into the detail from the beginning – to find every possible legal and factual angle in order to assist our clients. This detailed forensic approach is coupled with a reassuring, personal and accessible attitude to client care, from the moment we are instructed.
We advise and act for corporate and individual clients as well as leading enforcement agencies, including the FCA, SFO, HMRC and the Pensions Regulator in respect of investigations and proceedings in the UK and overseas.
We are experienced in advising and acting for corporate clients, senior directors, solicitors and other high profile individuals, in respect of demanding and sensitive cases such as insider dealing, money-laundering, market abuse, fraud, corruption and directors’ disqualification proceedings.
Members author or contribute to many leading textbooks in the financial crime arena. We have appeared in some of the biggest insider dealing and investment fraud cases to date. We also have experience advising on parallel proceedings undertaken by the DOJ, SEC, FRB and SRA.
We undertake regulatory and criminal proceedings both for and against the FCA and are experienced advocates in hearings before the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC), Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, High Court, Crown Court and Courts of Appeal.
We prosecuted the Sanders litigation; the first FSA cross-jurisdiction prosecution and the most significant UK insider dealing prosecution to date. On the defence side we recently represented an individual who received a suspended sentence after being convicted for insider dealing in share options prior to the announcement of a takeover. Chambers is retained by the DFSA in Dubai to advise on and undertake training on its new enforcement process.
We defended a seven week trial of a company director charged with fraudulent trading for two of her companies, as well as multiple charges of multi-million pound fraud, forgery and theft. She was acquitted on all charges.
We are currently acting for a multi-national corporation, and its high profile UK subsidiary, in a major international criminal investigation by UK regulators: this includes all aspects of pre-charge strategy.
From sensitive cases of personal and sexual violence, to allegations as diverse as blackmail to murder, our members cover the entire spectrum of criminal offences. The consequences of a conviction, even for a relatively minor offence, can be catastrophic and devastating for our clients, especially those from a professional background or in the public eye.
Recent assignments have included the successful defences of footballer John Terry in a high profile “race abuse” trial, Mayfair property tycoon Simon Halabi, who was acquitted of assault, and a leading insurance and finance entrepreneur, whose case was discontinued before it reached trial.
A number of members of Chambers have acted in cases involving doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals, typically where the charges relate to sexual assaults or allegations of dishonesty.
We have unrivalled experience in cases of gross negligence manslaughter in a medical context, having appeared in dozens of cases in which doctors have faced trial. Members of our Healthcare and Inquests teams regularly advise and act for Hospital Trusts, doctors and other professionals where these issues fall to be considered.
Once again, this is an area where members have expertise and experience in both the criminal and GMC disciplinary jurisdictions and can ensure that clients’ interests are protected on all fronts.
We appeared in the Court of Appeal on the authority for case management powers of the judge which led to the Criminal Procedure Rules and, again in the Court of Appeal, he acted in a £21 million fraud prosecution involving three defendants. We have been instructed in matters including a GP prosecuted for murder, an obstetric surgeon prosecuted for undertaking an illegal abortion, and an obstetrician and gynaecologist in the first prosecution brought under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
Members are currently instructed in concurrent appeals against conviction and against erasure from the medical register for fraud / perverting the course of justice, for the same doctor client, and for another doctor under investigation by NHS Protect for corruption in IT procurement contracts.
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers is very well known for the work done by its Police team. Individual members of chambers regularly act for police officers facing charges in the criminal courts.
Members effortlessly crosses between the disciplinary, coronial and criminal jurisdictions and have appeared in high profile criminal trials for police clients for many years. Several team members acted in the Hillsborough Inquests, including handling the alleged “cover up” by South Yorkshire Police of the causes of the disaster. In addition to our stellar practice in police misconduct cases, we have successfully defended many police clients in criminal trials for assault, fraud, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.
Amongst the many specialist police juniors in Chambers, a number have been involved in criminal cases on behalf of police clients at every rank of the service.
We advise and represent corporate and individual clients who face HSE investigations or prosecution. We have experienced advocates to act in criminal proceedings across the full spectrum of cases brought under the HSWA 1974 and related regulations and legislation, in the Employment Tribunal (e.g. for Prohibition Notices), and also at inquests. We have particular expertise in cases involving care homes, hospitals and other residential settings, and in representing professionals in the Healthcare sector.
Typical examples of cases include the defence of Basildon District Council against a charge brought by the HSE concerning a fatality caused by lack of maintenance at Basildon shopping centre. We recently acted for a care home operator who was prosecuted by the LF&PA for a near fire fatality under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
We have experienced practitioners who are on the CPS Grade 4 and SFO “A” lists and we have expertise in advising clients seeking to bring a private prosecution.
Many individual and corporate clients approach our members when the public prosecution authorities are unable or unwilling to assist. In some cases, private prosecution can be more cost effective and achieve better results than civil action, where a client has been the victim of a personal offence or of financial wrongdoing such as fraud.
Recent instructions include securing wasted costs following the successful defence of a private prosecution arising from allegations of fraud, advising corporate clients on the prosecution of a former employee for computer misuse, on issues arising from alleged “theft” of intellectual property within a hedge fund and on asset recovery following a Ponzi scheme in the form of a property investment fund. In the personal context, clients were advised on remedies for perjury in the context of a very substantial probate dispute and a high profile television producer was assisted on potential legal responses to blackmail against him.
24 Hour Urgent Advice
Our Business and Specialist Crime team provides a 24 hour service, 365 days a year to arrange for urgent advice and representation on applications including injunctions. For more details about our emergency service please click here.
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