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Defending regulatory investigations and prosecutions

BCL Solicitors LLP


Corporate criminal liability has been transformed in the past 15 years, partly to address the increased public demand for accountability for safety and ESG failings. In addition to the corporate manslaughter offence, traditional regulatory offences such as health and safety, fire safety, environmental and consumer protection offences are treated increasingly seriously, with fines rising dramatically, as well as the threat of imprisonment for company officers. The Grenfell tragedy has seen a radical shift in fire safety enforcement while the Environment Agency’s wide ranging investigations of water and sewerage companies, which have already seen one £90m fine, recently led the Environment Agency to call for fines to increase further and prison sentences for Chief Executives and Board members in the most serious pollution cases. Greenwashing is also firmly on regulators’ radars and future enforcement action inevitable.

To circumvent perceived difficulties caused by the ‘identification doctrine’, the ‘regulatory’ approach has been extended to economic crimes and further extensions are expected in the future, leading to increased regulatory risk for businesses. This is part of a general trend where corporates are now expected not only to do no wrong but to prevent others from doing wrong or face criminal sanction.

During this webinar, we will discuss certain key aspects of these developments, including:

  • The changing regulatory landscape
  • Developments in corporate criminal liability (including the Law Commission’s recent options paper)
  • Particular risk areas for corporates
  • Defending regulatory investigations and prosecutions
  • Penalties for regulatory offences




Richard Reichman
BCL Solicitors LLP

is a partner specialising in corporate crime and regulatory investigations (including ESG compliance).  He is ranked for his expertise in Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. He has extensive experience representing companies and individuals in relation to the most serious, complex and high-profile contentious matters. He provides proactive advice regarding crisis management, large internal and external investigations, regulators’ powers, corporate co-operation, interviews under caution, prosecutions and associated proceedings such as inquests.

He advises regarding a broad range of offences, such as corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, health and safety, food safety and hygiene, environmental (he advised in relation to the largest ever investigation by the Environment Agency), fire safety and consumer protection. He is frequently instructed in cases which require expertise in overlapping areas of business crime and regulation, for example joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigations and allegations of regulatory breaches combined with financial crime such as food and environmental fraud.


Tom McNeill
BCL Solicitors LLP

Tom is a partner specialising in corporate, regulatory, and financial crime. His expertise includes corporate and director liability, corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, health and safety, environmental protection, and fire safety. Tom represents companies and individuals in relation to serious and complex regulatory investigations and prosecutions including by the police, CPS, HSE, ORR, Environment Agency, fire authorities and local authorities. Tom is ranked in Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.


Eleanor Sanderson
Regulatory Criminal Barrister

Eleanor Sanderson
is a regulatory criminal barrister specialising in the defence of companies against prosecutions brought by the Health and Safety Executive, Fire and Rescue authorities, the Environment Agency and the Care Quality Commission. Her clients extend from well-known global listed companies and public authorities to family-run businesses, spanning the full range of industries and practice areas. She also specialises in Coroner’s inquests and has appeared in many high-profile matters including the Grenfell Inquiry, the Hillsborough Inquests and the Lakanal Inquests. Eleanor acted in a number of Court of Appeal and Divisional Court authorities in the field including the sentencing authorities of Bupa ANS and Sellafield regarding the approach to fines of very large organisations. She has been ranked by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leader in the field of health and safety for many years.


Shauna Ritchie 
Barrister practising in Crime, Health and Safety

Shauna Ritchie 
is a specialist advocate practising in crime and health and safety and is one of only a handful of barristers ranked in both the leading independent legal directories in both fields. Her experience encompasses the full spectrum of serious criminal and regulatory offences, from murder, rape, fraud, and drug offences to corporate and gross negligence manslaughter and breaches of wider Health and Safety legislation. She has extensive experience of both prosecuting and defending in high profile, serious, and complex cases and was nominated for Health and Safety Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2018 and 2022. She has particular experience in cases involving asbestos exposure, railways, and construction industry fatalities. "A very meticulous and accomplished barrister.”  Legal 500 2021 (Crime). "A barrister with first-class advocacy skills who will stop at nothing to ensure justice is achieved.” Chambers UK 2021 (Health & Safety).



10 November 2022
16:00 - 17:00 UTC
60 min