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  • About Us
  • Services
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  • FAQs
  • Contact


Advice and support during investigation by regulatory bodies and representation in any resulting legal action.

Sewell Law provides around the clock practical support and advice to companies and individuals who have found themselves in the aftermath of an incident, facing investigation or being prosecuted by a regulatory body or an enforcement authority. This could be the Health & Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, a Local Planning Authority or Trading Standards.  With years of experience of supporting and defending companies and individuals who find themselves in this position, Sewell Law can assist. For more information please click on the links below:

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• Health & Safety investigation & defence

We are trusted advisors for our clients in a broad range of industry sectors. From the moment an incident occurs, or you are notified of an investigation, we can provide on site representation. We can be there to speak to the police or the Health & Safety Executive (“HSE”), provide support and advice whilst interviews under caution take place, guide you through the investigation process, advise you when requests for disclosure of documents are received, provide representation at Inquests and help you understand what the Fee For Intervention (“FFI”) is and when it applies.

Accessing legal advice at the earliest possible time is crucial when an incident occurs.  Timely advice about how to handle an investigation and whether the business or its officers have any potential liabilities can not only assist in the defence of any following prosecution, but it can also serve to limit reputational damage.

With many years of experience defending businesses and individuals prosecuted by the HSE, Jennifer Sewell was recently recognised in the UK Legal 500 for her expertise in Health and Safety defence work.

A testimonial from a client explained;
“I worked with Jennifer Sewell who was very knowledgeable and patient. This helped tremendously during a particularly difficult time that our company was going through.” (UK Legal 500 2020).

• Trading Standards investigation

The solicitors at Sewell Law have experience of advising and acting for clients that are the subject of investigation or prosecution by Local Authority Trading Standards Departments.

Businesses in the retail sector that deal directly with members of the public can sometimes fall foul of the UK's trading laws. This can attract the scrutiny of regulatory bodies such as Trading Standards. In certain circumstances, officers from Trading Standards can attend the businesses premises unannounced to take documentation and other evidence as part of their investigation.  

Investigations can result in allegations of, for example, breaches of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This could be on the basis that goods have been sold that are not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality. If your business is under investigation by Trading Standards, or is being prosecuted for breaches of consumer law, Sewell Law has the expertise to assist and advise you in relation to any potential defence.

• Advertising

Having acted for regional and national clients in the retail sector, Jennifer Sewell has extensive experience of dealing with allegations of breaches of the Advertising Codes imposed by the Advertising Standards Authority (the ASA).  She has particular expertise in relation to comparative advertising having worked with highly specialist Counsel in defending alleged breaches of the ASA code for a household name.  Jennifer can advise businesses in respect of claims made in adverts and marketing material.  

Jennifer is also has knowledge of the rules contained in the Sourcebooks and Guides for businesses in the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA's) Handbook.

• Environmental issues

If you have been accused of breaching environmental law, it is likely that you will be the subject of investigation by the Environment Agency.  The outcome of such an investigation can range from no further action required, to the issue of an Enforcement Notice, to prosecution.

If an incident occurs on your land and the Environment Agency are attending to investigate, we can provide on site representation during the investigation and any resulting interviews with the Environment Agency.

We will provide prompt and practical advice regarding any potential liability that the business may have and help you navigate the detail of applicable environmental law.  With many years of experience dealing with investigations by the Environment Agency and defending prosecutions in this area of law, Sewell Law can assist.

• Local Planning Authority disputes

Planning appeals
If you disagree with a decision to either allow or refuse planning permission, an appeal can be made to the Planning Inspectorate. There are strict timescales within which to make an appeal, usually 8 or 12 weeks.

Appeals are dealt with by written representations, at a hearing or by way of a full Inquiry.

If the Local Planning Authority considers that there has been a breach of planning control (i.e. when a development has planning permission and it has not been complied with or a development has been built without planning permission) the Authority can serve a notice on the developer. There are several notices, the most common being.

Planning Contravention Notices
These are notices issued by the Local Planning Authority when it is suspected that there has been a breach of planning control and the Local Planning Authority requires more information.

Enforcement Notices
These are used when a developer has breached planning control and needs to take steps to remedy the breach. Enforcement Notices must be complied with within a certain timeframe. Enforcement Notices can be appealed and if an appeal is going to be made, the appeal must be lodged before the end of the timeframe.

Stop Notices
These must be served with Enforcement Notices and require a developer to cease certain activities on a development on the basis of breach of planning control.  

Breach of Condition Notices
If you do not comply with a condition in your planning permission or only partially comply, the Local Planning Authority can serve a Breach of Condition Notice requiring compliance. These Notices cannot be appealed. As such, if you disagree with the notice or it is legally incorrect, an application for permission to apply for Judicial Review would need to be made.

If you have been served with a planning notice, get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can discuss your options with you.

Judicial Review
Judicial Review is a complex process intended to challenge the legality of decisions made by public bodies such as Local Planning Authorities or the Planning Inspectorate. The grounds for Judicial Review are stringent and difficult to prove, however, if there is a case, an application for permission to apply for Judicial Review must be made promptly, and at the very latest, within 6 weeks of the decision being challenged.  

The grounds for Judicial Review are that when making the decision, the Local Planning Authority or the Planning Inspectorate made an error in relation to the law, acted irrationally and made a decision that was unreasonable in all the circumstances, or there was unfairness in the decision making process.

The solicitors at Sewell Law have experience in challenging the decisions of public bodies by Judicial Review. If you wish to challenge a decision which you consider may have been made unlawfully, or there was unfairness in the way the decision was made or the decision was unreasonable, get in touch with us as soon as possible after the decision is made and we can discuss the position with you.

• Utility disputes

Disputes with utility companies can range from contractual disputes to issues over tariffs and unit rates to overpayment cases. Sewell Law's solicitors have experience of dealing with Ofgem and the Ombudsman in relation to a broad range of matters involving the supply of utilities to businesses.

• Traffic offences

Sewell Law has experience of advising and representing drivers in the Magistrates' Court for all manner of traffic offences, including:

• Speeding
• Totting up
• Diving without insurance Using a hand held mobile telephone whilst driving
• Driving licence related offences
• Failure to supply driver detailsIgnoring road regulations
• Refusing to supply a sample at the roadside

If you have received a notice in relation to an alleged driving offence, contact one of our experienced solicitors and we can assist.

• Marine Regulation prosecution & defence

We have extensive experience in marine regulation in matters investigated and prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and other regulatory bodies. Gordon’s regulatory practice has extended in scope to include shore based regulatory matters such as investigations by the Health & Safety Executive, Port and Local Authorities.

He has particular experience in conducting cases that involve alleged health and safety breaches of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and the associated regulations as well the collision regulations. The offshore and shore based regulations operate within a general framework for health and safety such as the provision and use of work equipment and working from height. This has allowed Gordon to expand his practice in to actions involving the Health & Safety Executive and Local Authorities.

"Highly recommend Sewell Law, excellent service from start to finish! Wouldn't hesitate to use them again"