Water and waste materials management on site present real issues for developers. The Environment Agency takes a robust line investigating and enforcing legislation and breaches of environmental law can result in criminal prosecutions, with fines well in excess of £1m under the Sentencing Guidelines on account of business turnover. The environmental obligations placed on organisations and their officers are significant. It is hard to keep up-to-date and remain compliant with the latest regulations, and easier than ever to fall foul of the rules.
Our regulatory and business defence team are experienced in helping businesses to manage those issues and we have a high success rate in working with developers and negotiating with the Environment Agency at the early stages of investigations to avoid escalation to prosecution.
We pride ourselves in providing a rapid response service, practical support and a proactive defence strategy – whatever the allegation backed by extensive experience of managing investigations, handling interviews under caution and defending prosecutions.
We advise businesses in contentious environmental work, including pollution incidents on development sites or advising on complex decommissioning projects, such as the closure of power plants, recycling and paper mill sites. We regularly help clients navigate complex issues with Environment Agency compliance, empowering them to achieve commercially and environmentally satisfactory outcomes for their businesses.
Health & safety
We have over 25 years’ experience defending housebuilders across the UK following issues on construction sites including fatal accidents, HSE enforcement notices and major incidents. Wherever possible we will be involved early on in an investigation, providing strategic advice and support which can stop an investigation in its tracks or massively reduce the impact in terms of cost and time.
Our team handles every type of health and safety-related incident, from serving enforcement notices and fees for intervention issues, right through to corporate manslaughter investigations. We provide nationwide support for on-site teams and senior management, whatever the issue. We can be quickly on-site, helping to handle the aftermath of a serious incident and we are always available through digital platforms to provide real time support from the moment something happens.
When working with our clients we:
- support those involved in an incident;
- deal with the press and the public;
- liaise with the police and the Health & Safety Executive in their investigations;
- carry out any internal investigation; and
- make sure our clients’ business interests are protected.
Our team are skilled at:
- crisis management in the immediate aftermath of a serious incident;
- guiding clients through the interview process;
- advising on any interview under caution;
- strategically planning defence cases from the outset;
- obtaining the best possible outcome for our clients;
- avoiding prosecutions altogether;
- successful acquittals at trial;
- supporting clients through Coroner’s Inquest proceedings;
- supporting clients in reviewing their health and safety policies and procedures; and
- assisting clients to build a comprehensive health and safety strategy to protect their business, employees and reputation.
Crucially, we can work with in-house teams to deliver proactive support before any major issue arises. We can provide training for boards, senior managers and employees to ensure health and safety obligations are understood, as well as providing a platform for discussing the key health and safety issues affecting businesses.
Strategic fire and cladding support
Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, fire and cladding issues have been a source of contention across the industry, with changing goalposts from Government and individual fire engineers holding wildly different views on safety and compliance depending on whether their instructions are coming from developers, managing agents or contractors. Add the potential for personal liability and corporate manslaughter into the mix in the event of a worst-case scenario fire and developers are understandably struggling to achieve consistency and control over their responses.
As a professional services group, we have both legal and consulting specialists who advise across a range of fire safety and cladding issues both proactively and reactively depending on what support our clients’ need and what situation they find themselves in.
We defend corporate entities and individual office holders in any investigation which might lead to a criminal prosecution. Our regulatory team are genuine experts in their field with significant experience in housebuilding, construction and development gained over many years – so we can deliver commercial, pragmatic solutions to the problems faced by housebuilders and their office holders and senior employees.
We understand the issues facing our clients and we ensure our service delivery proactively supports their success at all levels. Regulatory issues are often high profile or business critical and our experienced team is on hand when needed, inside and outside office hours, to help our clients through the crisis events that may affect them – whether it is a fatal accident, pollution incident, data protection issue or Local Planning Authority enforcement.
We deal with a diverse range of regulators: the HSE; the Environment Agency; the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office; Trading Standards; Police, Competition & Markets Authority and local authorities to name a handful.