Business Crime & Corporate Fraud

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Business Crime Solicitors


Our Business Crime Solicitors are experts at providing urgent legal support to defend against potentially damaging allegations.

Our experienced team of legal specialists understands the complexities of corporate and business crime investigations and we possess the high level of skill and expertise required to provide the necessary support and representation to those facing such charges.

We will act swiftly and robustly to minimise the impact on your company, your reputation and your livelihood and we will work tirelessly to protect your interests at all stages.

The Business Crime Solicitors at Clifford Johnston & Co. are always available for in-depth legal advice that you and your business deserve. Contact us today for an assessment of your case.

In the event that you or your business is facing a criminal investigation from the Police or perhaps a governmental regulatory body, engaging the services of Clifford Johnston and Co. offers you the optimum chance of securing a positive outcome. Our credentials speak for themselves, having seen us shortlisted as finalists for Crime Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards in both 2019 and 2020.


Crime team of the year Manchester

Business Crime Defence

With a reputation for achieving excellent results across challenging and complex cases, our Business Crime Solicitors are best placed to offer you first-class legal representation to ensure that you have the strongest possible defence available to you. We excel at building effective and successful defence strategies and have successfully represented clients across all areas of business crime.  Some of the areas that we can assist with include:

  • Asset forfeiture
  • Business Fraud
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Corporate Manslaughter
  • Corporate Fraud
  • Financial Crime
  • Health & Safety Breaches
  • Money Laundering
  • Tax Evasion
  • Trading Standards Breaches

Cases can be challenging and complex but our solicitors have the experience and technical knowledge to manage issues that will inevitably arise. We particularly specialise in the following areas:


Money Laundering

Money laundering is the using, possessing, concealing or facilitating the acquisition of criminal property such as money or goods.


Business and Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud is essentially any crime involving a business but specifically involves acting dishonestly to mislead lending companies or investors with the aim of securing financial gain. Corporate or business fraud includes serious high-value fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, boiler room operations as well as wrongful or fraudulent trading.

How can our Business Crime Lawyers help you?

At Clifford Johnston & Co. we recognise the far-reaching consequences for anyone facing such allegations and you will need the best professionals fighting your corner to protect your business, your interests and your reputation. Our specialist business crime and business fraud solicitors will combine their comprehensive business and legal knowledge to guide you through the judicial process and to provide first-class representation.

If you or your business is facing allegations of serious crime such as money laundering, fraud or Gross Negligence Manslaughter, the team at Clifford Johnston & Co. can help.

We are here to provide you with maximum support including representation from the date that an allegation is made, through to your first police interview and then on to preparing your case and representing you in court.

With extensive experience in this area of law, our Business Crime Solicitors will liaise with enforcement agencies on your behalf and keep you fully informed and up-to-date on the progress of your case.  In doing so, we aim to reduce any stress and worry during what we know can be a difficult time.

Protecting your business from future criminal prosecution

Our specialist solicitors can also assist in assessing and reviewing your current business practices and operations not only to defend you against current business crime investigations but also to protect you against further allegations and to safeguard your business and reputation in the future.

It is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as you are aware that your business is under investigation for the best chance of a positive outcome for you, your business and its reputation.

Business directors facing criminal charges

The Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 provides that a court may make a disqualification order where a person is convicted of an offence which is concerned with the mismanagement of a company.

When clients turn their mind to what punishment they might receive if they plead guilty to, or are convicted of, a criminal offence, in most cases the thought is whether it might be a custodial sentence, a community penalty, or a hefty fine.

While the substantive penalty is, of course, important, on occasion there are other things more serious to consider.

There are a wide number of scenarios catered for under the Act, so the actual circumstances must be considered with care. In certain situations, offences committed abroad qualify (see section 5A).

What conduct is relevant?

Both the internal and external management of the company are relevant to s 2(1) of the 1986 Act (Corbin (1984) 6 Cr App R (S) 17), as is a Director’s general conduct in running the affairs of the business (Georgiou (1988) 10 Cr App R (S) 137).

The court has extensive discretion in relation to most offences:

‘This is a completely general and unfettered power given by Parliament to courts on the occasion when a person is convicted of an indictable offence of that type. Parliament has decided not to give the sentencing court any guidance as to the way in which it ought to exercise its powers of disqualification in the very many and varied circumstances in which it may come to exercise those powers” (Young (1990) 12 Cr App R (S) 262).

What is a ‘Director’s disqualification order’?

The effect of the order is to prevent a person being involved in the future affairs of [any] company:

(a) he shall not be a director of a company, act as receiver of a company’s property or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company unless (in each case) he has the leave of the court, and

(b) he shall not act as an insolvency practitioner.

How long does the order last?

An order made by a magistrates’ court may last no longer than five years; an order made by the crown court no longer than fifteen years (although this is lower for some offences).

The Court of Appeal has on occasion supported the making of lengthy orders, for example, one lasting eight years in R v Singh-Mann and Others [2014] EWCA Crim 717.

Will a guilty plea make any difference as to the length of the order?

A guilty plea will not act to reduce the disqualification period as discount for early plea does not apply to ancillary orders (Clayton [2017] EWCA Crim 49, [2017] All ER (D) 71 (Jan)).

Note however that it is inappropriate to order disqualification where the offender is conditionally discharged (Young (1990) 12 Cr App R (S) 262).

It may be inappropriate for a court to order compensation to be paid by a director who by virtue of the making of this type of order will be deprived of the ability to earn a living (Holmes (1992) 13 Cr App R (S) 29).

What happens if I breach the order?

Imprisonment of up to 2 years may be imposed if an order is breached.

Who conducts business crime investigations?

Depending on the type of fraud or business crime offence that is alleged, different agencies may conduct the investigation. It is also not rare for these to work on a case at the same time, or for additional agencies to be involved in multi-jurisdictional investigations.

Some of the agencies that may investigate business crime cases include:

  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
  • Trading Standards
  • National Crime Agency (NCA)
  • The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
  • Trading Standards
  • The Office of Fair Trading
  • The Crown Prosecution Service

Different industries and businesses may be subject to different processes, which will determine which agency investigates a business crime or serious fraud case.

Funding your Business Criminal Defence

Don’t let financial concerns hold you back from getting the legal assistance you need. Here at Clifford Johnston & Co., we extend our expertise to all clients, regardless of their choice between publicly funded or privately funded criminal defence. We strongly believe in equal access to justice.

You may be eligible for legal aid, and our dedicated team is here to help. We’ll assess your eligibility and guide you through the legal aid application process, ensuring you have the support you require for your defence.

Contact our Business Crime Solicitors

By choosing to work with our specialist law firm, you will have an exceptional team fighting your corner and one that is renowned across the industry for providing the highest standards of legal representation.

Our Business Crime Solicitors and white collar crime solicitors have years of experience supporting  clients through all types of criminal defence involving a business, including internal investigations, fraud investigations, or money laundering allegations.

For cost effective legal advice from Business Crime experts, wherever your business is based, contact the Criminal Solicitors in Manchester and Stockport at Clifford Johnston & Co. today.