While many of the major prosecuting and investigatory authorities have scaled back their investigations, the various Trading Standards authorities up and down the country have stepped up their investigations very aggressively, efficiently and professionally. They are not to be underestimated.
Trading Standards Solicitors London UK
Most people associate Trading Standards with fake goods on market stalls and would be amazed to learn just how wide and draconian their remit and powers really are. They work extensively with other major prosecuting agencies, indeed they have a shared enforcement role, and more recently have embarked on a series of wide ranging high profile prosecutions.
Trading Standards Policies
- Facilitating economic recovery
- Improving the health of society
- Protecting the environment
- Strengthening community safety
Trading Standards' remit is staggering and includes:
Animal rights and welfare; age restricted sales; agriculture; banking; finance and consumer credit; cold calling scammers; loan sharks; false mail forwarding services; illicit computer parts and mobile phones; scam virtual offices; consumer credit; consumer and product safety; cross-border sales; illegal money laundering; shut energy and climate change (electricity companies incorrectly quoting savings) doorstep selling; e-commerce; e-crime; explosives and petroleum; environment and packaging; fair trading and prices; food and nutrition; hall marking; health; intellectual property; mass marketed fraud and scams; metrology; motor trade and road traffic; property; travel; illicit alcohol, cosmetics, medicines, cigarettes, fireworks etc; the list is endless.
They have the right to information held by other agencies and to give information to those agencies.
This means that they can investigate any business, manufacturer, supplier of goods and services and these investigations can have a devastating effect on the reputation of that business in the market place.
What Can Trading Standards Do?
They will turn up at your place of business unannounced, seize goods, records, computers, mobile phones; interview staff on the spot; seize personal and company assets; instigate arrests and criminal proceedings; in short they can effectively shut you and your business down.
They have a number of remedies at their disposal which include:
- Referrals to other agencies
- Fixed Penalty Notices
- Statutory notices
- Undertakings/injunctions (see Enterprise Act)
- Review of licences
- Removal of animals
- Criminal prosecutions in both the Magistrates' and Crown Courts
- Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings
What Can We Do For You?
Trading Standards legislation is very complex and can result in lengthy investigations, eye watering fines, terms of imprisonment, and the loss of your business.
Initially we will liaise with Trading Standards on your behalf; you can call us to assist when Trading Standards arrive at your place of business so that we can liaise with them as far as the removal of documents, computers and other equipment are concerned (for example they can image a hard drive on the spot without having to remove the computers).
Additionally we can liaise and negotiate with them regarding the removal of goods from the premises.
If you are interviewed under caution we can be there to represent your interests and to generally persuade Trading Standards not to go down the route of criminal prosecution but to consider alternative options e.g. civil remedies, fines or other penalties.
They will also consider civil recovery options and, in the most serious criminal cases, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 actions. Our specialist and experienced Trading Standard lawyers are also part of our well respected POCA unit and can assist with these issues.
You will probably require assistance with regulatory compliance issues if you find that you have fallen foul of Trading Standards once already. They will be keen to see that you are remedying any breaches of regulations and legislation, and we can advise you on these compliance points.
Examples of Our Experience
These are only a few representative examples of our successful work in this area:
- An ongoing high profile complex land banking fraud prosecution by Trading Standards in the Home Counties;
- A large prosecution concerning the sale of counterfeit clothing on eBay, prosecuted by Manchester Trading Standards [client acquitted at Manchester Crown Court];
- An investigation into the importation and sale of fake computer parts [investigation halted after representations were made];
- A boiler room fraud investigation [proceedings were dropped against our client after representations were made];
- A prosecution for a large scale (warehouse full) fraud concerning fake cosmetics sold online [acquitted after trial];
- Other numerous investigations into the large-scale sale of counterfeit clothing, alcohol, illicit cigarettes and cosmetics, involving search and seizure of warehouses of illicit goods.