At Libra Solicitors, we are committed to providing professional legal services to individuals, businesses and organisations in respect of enforcement actions by the Environment Agency. Given that a successful criminal prosecution for breaching environmental regulations can lead to significant fines and even custodial sentences for the individuals involved, we believe it makes sense to ensure you receive expert advice and representation if you or your business are alleged to have committed a breach.
For a confidential discussion in respect of the issues you or your business face, call us today on 01223 632420 and arrange an appointment.
Powers of the Environment Agency
The powers of the Environment Agency (EA) are significant and businesses that breach the United Kingdom’s extensive environmental regulations can face a range of enforcement methods and sanctions. The EA can impose civil penalties or it can begin a prosecution in the criminal courts. A criminal conviction for environmental breaches can lead to extensive fines, with the possibility of custodial sentences for individuals, should they be found guilty of a serious regulatory breach. Directors of companies in breach may also be subject to directors’ disqualification orders.
The potential consequences facing both individuals and businesses who are the subject of an environmental prosecution are not limited to the sentencing powers of the court. The reputational harm that a business may suffer due to allegations that it has breached environmental regulations can be significant, particularly if immediate action is not taken to manage the situation.
With so much at stake it makes sense to ensure your business is compliant with the environmental regulations that govern its operations. At Libra Solicitors, we can provide guidance and support to ensure that your business has an effective compliance regime that can significantly reduce the risk of breaching environmental laws. Click here, for more on our services in respect of regulatory compliance.
Whether you are unsure of how regulations affect your business, or if you want us to review of the existing policies you have in place, we can help you to create an effective working environment that promotes compliance with the environmental regulatory framework of the UK. For a confidential discussion about the issues that may be concerning you, call us today on 01223 632420 to see how we can help your business.
Environmental investigations & prosecutions
If your business is facing an allegation that it has committed an environmental regulatory breach, we understand that you may be worried about how any investigation or prosecution is going to proceed, and the possible consequences for both your business and the individuals involved. At Libra Solicitors, we are committed to providing our clients with clear, practical advice that they can rely on. From the very beginning, we will listen to your concerns to get a true understanding of your situation and objectives.
We will then thoroughly investigate your case, examining every aspect of the evidence that the regulatory authority has provided. We will use independent industry-specific experts, where necessary, to assess the breach and we will help you formulate a strategic plan to deal with any issues that arise in respect of any subsequent civil or criminal regulatory interventions.
Our experience has given us an understanding of the investigatory and prosecution processes, which can prove invaluable when dealing with regulatory authorities. Where appropriate, we will initiate dialogue with the regulatory body or local authority, and make representations to them in respect of your matter. It may be that they subsequently decide that no further action is necessary, particularly if every effort to prevent future breaches has been made.
In some circumstances, it may be beneficial for a business to self-report an incident to the relevant authority, and to take corrective measures to minimise the impact of the breach as soon as possible. Alternatively, the facts surrounding the alleged breach may be in dispute, in which case we will prepare your case for trial, and our focus will be on obtaining the best possible outcome that the circumstances of the allegation will allow.
Interviews under caution
In some cases, the first time you may become aware of an investigation will be when the authorities ask you to attend an interview under caution. When dealing with incorporated companies, they may ask the firm to nominate a senior member of their management team, who will represent the business and answer questions in the interview. If you know that you are going to attend an interview under caution or speak to the investigating body in any capacity, we strongly suggest that you take legal advice beforehand.
At Libra Solicitors, we can provide you with expert advice and representation throughout the interview process and we will use our expertise to help ensure that any interview is carried out in accordance with all the rights and protections afforded to you under the rules and codes governing PACE interviews.
Defending environmental prosecutions in court
If your matter proceeds to court, we will expertly prepare your case, and provide you with support and guidance through the whole process. An experienced QC, barrister or solicitor-advocate will lead your case so you know the advice and representation you receive is of the highest quality, and that your interests are being protected at all times. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to make representations to the prosecuting authority. For example, to ask them to review the prosecution.
In preparing your case, we will examine whether the investigating authority has acted within its powers and consider whether any statutory defences apply to your case. If there are defences that can be put forward, we will advise you accordingly.
We will also advise you if we think specialist industry specific investigators could assist you. If such expertise are needed, we will work closely with a leading consultant firm such as Emmerson Associates, to ensure that the right expertise is supporting your case.
However you decide to plead, you can be sure that we will use all of our experience and determination to fight for the best possible outcome for you or your business. For a confidential discussion in respect of the issues that may be concerning you in respect of going to court, call us on 01223 632420 and arrange an appointment.
We understand the impact being accused of an offence of this nature can have on you and your business. We can provide guidance and support in respect of dealing with the media, and help you to act decisively to limit any reputational damage. We will always maintain your confidentiality, and will make every effort to limit media intrusion into your case. For a confidential discussion in respect of the issues that may be concerning you, call us today on 01223 632420 and arrange an appointment.