May 21, 2012

Hidden Legal Dangers Referred to as "White Collar Crime"

Written by Del Cudd

Del Cudd is a consultant solicitor at Peter Lynn and Partners specialising in civil litigation, licensing, regulatory prosecutions and private client crime. He is based in the firm’s SA1 head office.
He spent many years with Swansea solicitors Douglas Jones Mercer – where he was a partner – before joining Peter Lynn and Partners in 2009 as a Consultant.
We recently met with Del to discuss the pending dangers associated with what many refer to as “White Collar Crime” and what action should be taken in the event of a pending prosecution.
Peter Lynn and Partners are experts in defending such prosecutions, which can unwittingly affect individuals and business owners when they are least expecting. The subject is complicated and the law vast, but common examples include:
•    Motoring Offences
•    Health & Safety issues at work
•    Department of Work & Pensions – employer/employee fraud offences
•    Local Authority Prosecutions for:
o    Trade Descriptions Offences
o    Breach of Planning Offences
o    Trading Standards Offences
o    Trade Mark Offences
Del said: “We always say that prevention is far better than cure, but unfortunately prosecutions of this type are relatively common and quite rightly so when the law is broken.  However, the best advice we can give as lawyers is that the client should seek immediate advice as soon as he or she becomes aware that an investigation is taking place. Do not try to deal with interviews, for example, yourself.”
With regard to motoring, Del said, “It’s important for business owners to manage their fleet or company vehicles correctly, which means keeping a log of vehicle users to ensure that you know at any given time who is using a particular vehicle and, also, making sure that the vehicles are registered, if incorporated, in the company name and not in the name of the company officer.”
Health & Safety of company employees is paramount in any organisation, but when accidents happen or safety is compromised, the company could find itself under investigation by the Health & Safety Executive. At Peter Lynn & Partners there is in place an employer’s scheme called The Guardian Scheme, which offers training, advice and management on all aspects of employment law to minimise the risks to the business owner.
However, despite the above if there is an incident it is important to consult with a lawyer immediately to ensure that the right steps are taken. If necessary Peter Lynn and Partners will employ the services of an expert to investigate and defend rigorously where appropriate.
Local Authorities are responsible for enforcing the law in a number of areas which can affect business people on a daily basis. Del Cudd said: “There are so many examples in this area including the law surrounding trademarks. A familiar story is that of the local authority prosecuting a seller of counterfeit goods, identified only when a consumer complains after purchasing and discovers that the brand displayed isn’t the correct brand after all.”
Other areas include Trade Descriptions & Trading Standards. Del said: “The former could, in general, be a business which is using a name which is in some way misleading to the public or, more particularly, a plumber claiming to be “Gas Safe Registered” when he is not. Trade Descriptions officers will come down heavily on offenders in circumstances such as these.”
Added to this there are breaches of planning permissions and/or building regulations which are also under Local Authority Control.  Or it could be something as simple as boundary fences exceeding a certain height. This could lead to the service of an Enforcement Notice and ultimately court proceedings.   In all such cases do not delay seek advice at an early stage as if you do not and simply sit back and do nothing your position could be significantly worse.
Finally, another area in which Del specialises; landlords and property owners will be fully aware of the difficulties associated with bad tenants and of removing such tenants from a property.  Care has to be taken to ensure that the appropriate Notice is served at the appropriate time as a failure to take such precautions can cause proceedings to secure possession to fail.  Peter Lynn and Partners can provide advice to both tenants and landlords in such circumstances.
Peter Lynn and Partners really do believe in providing peace of mind to all of its clients including those affected by the unexpected legal challenges which arise out of day to day life. Del said: “In all aspects of a dispute we fully understand the complexity of the law and we put every effort into serving our clients best interests throughout the legal process, in order to secure the best possible solution.”
If you need advice on any of the above subjects call one of our team today for your free initial consultation.
For more information on Peter Lynn & Partners or any of the points covered in this article contact Peter Lynn & Partners Head office:
Peter Lynn & Partners
2nd Floor, Langdon House
Langdon Road
Tel: 01792 450010
Fax: 01792 462881
[email protected]