Regulatory Investigations in Ireland

Tuesday 10th November 2020

Return to Work and Employment Law webinars with La Touche Training

Are you involved in regulatory investigations? La Touche Training is known for providing legal insights to regulators, solicitors and other professionals in this area via online conferences and virtual training programmes.

The Annual Regulatory Investigations Conference 2020, organised by La Touche Training, took place virtually on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th November.

This was the fifth year of the conference and for the first time it took place online. This enabled delegates to attend  from all over the country. The conference proved a real success and over 150 regulators, investigators and lawyers attended via video conferencing. The speakers’ line up included:

  • The Director of Public Prosecutions, Claire Loftus
  • Shalom Binchy, Solicitor
  • Stephen Barry, Solicitor
  • Gary Shaw, Professor of Professional Practice, University of Sunderland
  • Ian Thomas, Solicitor
  • Hugh Mc Dowell, Barrister

Regulatory Investigations is an ever changing area. Investigations have become increasingly complex and regulators face the concept of gathering a multiplicity of documentary evidence over numerous electronic platforms. Before trial there are the challenges of disclosure. Interviewing witnesses has also become increasingly difficult, particularly under Covid-19 restrictions.

Event attendees greatly benefited from the speakers’ insights on topics such as:

  • The role of the DPP and the decision to prosecute
  • The role of a solicitor in suspect interviews
  • Privilege: what it means in practice when an investigation is ongoing
  • Food safety investigations
  • Interviewing significant witnesses: what to look out for
  • The prosecution of managers: what does the decision in DPP v. TN mean for regulators

If you have missed the conference this year, here are some key learning points we'd like to share with you:

  • The importance of a thorough investigation and the presentation of a comprehensive file to the office of the DPP. Claire Loftus stated that a large number of cases are not prosecuted due to the lack of sufficient evidence.
  • Sentencing: Claire Loftus examined the case of DPP v. Kilsaran Concrete as an example of the DPP appealing a decision on sentencing. This Court of Appeal decision showed how sentencing decisions should be reached in a regulatory context.
  • The right to advice of a person suspected of a crime. The trial process commencing at the time of an interview under caution, and what role the solicitor should take when their client is being interviewed. Regulators involved in the conduct of cautioned interviews might examine whether all such interviews should be recorded/video taped.
  • Pre-interview disclosure: what is its importance and the divergent views shown in the guidance of An Garda Siochana and the Law Society.
  • How can clients under investigation by a regulator ensure that privilege is preserved. The difference between legal professional privilege and litigation privilege. How does a regulator deal with a claim of privilege.
  • Food safety law: who does what? What can a Food Business operator do when facing the inspection of a regulator?
  • What is a significant witness? Do I need to have regard to the connections which a witness might have to other witnesses or to the suspect?
  • What are the parameters in which a regulator might consider the prosecution of a manager? Are there general rules or is it always fact specific? DPP v TN suggests that there are a large number of factors which have to be examined such as: what does the person do? Does he have ultimate control? Key learning is that a person may not need to be in control of the whole business to be criminally liable, provided he or she has control of the facility under investigation.

This conference which is run annually seeks to provide those in the regulatory field with an opportunity to examine current issues.

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