We live in an increasingly regulated society and every year there seems to be new rules, legislation and regulations introduced governing not just lawyers but all sorts of businesses, from large limited companies to sole traders. No matter the size of your business, as business owners it is important that you are aware of the rules and regulations governing your industry and of your rights in the event that a regulatory body commences an investigation and/or prosecution.
While regulation has the intended purpose of improving conduct and standards it places increasing responsibilities on organisations and can cause a high level of stress and cost on a business.
Examples of regulatory bodies who can investigate your business (depending on sector) include the following …
In addition, if you or your business are required to hold a licence or registration to operate in a particular field, it is important that you are aware of and able to defend your interests in the event that the body who regulate such a licence cancel or suspend it, or if that body imposes conditions on your licence which are too onerous or unreasonable. In such circumstances, you may have a statutory right (a right conferred by legislation) of appeal to a court, tribunal, or other appellate body.
You may also have a right of appeal against the terms of a notice that has been served against you by a public body.
If you or your business is being investigated by a statutory or regulatory body, or you wish to appeal against a decision regarding your licence to trade/operate, it is important that legal advice is obtained as soon as possible. It may be that an existing policy of commercial insurance will provide legal expenses cover in respect of the legal costs at the investigation/interview stage and/or if further legal action is taken against you.
Brian Moss has considerable experience in the area of regulatory law and statutory notice/licence appeals and can be contacted at our Belfast office, 028 9043 4015 or by emailing [email protected]
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