BEIS Investigations

Our BEIS defence lawyers have years of experience of defending a variety of criminal prosecutions bought by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who bring a substantial number of criminal prosecutions each year.

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Unlike the Police, the BEIS does not have powers of arrest. However, during criminal investigations they can invite the subjects of those investigations to attend a formal interview under caution.

Should you ever be invited to attend an interview under caution with the BEIS, you should seek specialist legal advice from us before deciding on whether to attend the proposed interview. There is no compulsion to attend and advice can be provided regarding the advantages and disadvantages of being at an interview, depending on your specific circumstances.

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We can provide you with expert specialist legal advice if you

- Have been invited to attend an interview under caution by BEIS;
- Are aware that BEIS are investigating you and/or your business;
- Have received a summons requiring you to attend Court in connection with a BEIS Prosecution.

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A BEIS investigation may be conducted for a variety of criminal offences, the four most common of which are:

Fraudulent Trading
The offence of Fraudulent Trading is the carrying on of any business or company, with the intent to defraud creditors or for any fraudulent purpose. Every individual who was knowingly a party to the carrying on of the business in such a manner is guilty of fraudulent trading.

Frequently senior employees and company directors are charged with Fraudulent Trading. To secure a conviction, the Prosecution must prove that the individual acted dishonestly. This can include those that chose to ‘turn a blind eye’, where they have a firmly grounded suspicion that relevant facts exist and made a deliberate decision to avoid confirming their suspicions.

This is an offence which is capable of being heard in the Magistrates Court, however, most people charged with this offence have their cases heard in the Crown Court, due to the serious nature of the crime. A conviction for Fraudulent Trading carries a high risk of a custodial sentence; usually followed by confiscation proceedings. We’ll always give you the best advice specific to your circumstances.

Undischarged Bankruptcy Offences
It is a criminal offence for an undischarged bankrupt to act as a company director, or to either directly or indirectly be concerned in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without prior permission from a Court.

A conviction for this offence carries a risk of a custodial sentence for a maximum of two years. However, it can be a question of interpretation whether specific actions and roles within a company are prohibited by this offence. Our BEIS investigation defence solicitors will give you advice on your appropriate plea. Where necessary, skilled mitigation can be put before the Court and can often result in non-custodial sanctions.

Breach of a Disqualification Order Offences
It is a criminal offence if an individual has been disqualified from acting as a company director for a specific period of time but then breaches such an order.

A conviction for this offence carries a risk of a custodial sentence for a maximum of two years. It is sometimes a question of interpretation of whether the defendant’s actions amount to a breach of the disqualification order, which our specialist BEIS investigation lawyers can advise on, where necessary, we can present the Court with appropriate mitigation and the Court can often award a non-custodial sentence, especially in circumstances where there are no previous convictions for the same offence.

Failure to keep accounting records
Every limited company has a legal obligation to keep accounting records that illustrate the company’s transactions.

If a company fails to comply with this requirement, every officer of the business which is in default is guilty of the offence, unless they can show that they acted honestly and that in the circumstances in which the company’s business was carried on, the default was excusable. Our BEIS lawyers can give specialist advice to anyone charged with failing to keep these records.

Specialist solicitors

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in a wide range of services, which means you'll always be represented by an expert in your area.

No-strings initial call

Get in touch to arrange a no-obligation, fully confidential call to discuss your case and work out if you want to continue.

Nationwide support

Speak to solicitors in one of our offices throughout England and Wales, or arrange calls and remote meetings.

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Contact our legal advice specialists today.

Are you interested in BEIS Investigations?

Use the form on the right to get in touch with our team and arrange an initial call to discuss your situation. We will use this no-obligation, fully confidential initial call to learn more about your case and help you understand your options going forward.

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