Regulatory Legal Consultancy

The team works with business partners in environmental consulting to give rapid, authoritative advice on challenging legal issues that arise out of consulting projects.

Working behind the scenes or as an integral part of your own services, we provide ongoing project support or one-off advice on critical environmental issues. As specialist regulatory and criminal defence lawyers, we provide certainty in the context of regulatory problems and can help your clients get into the best possible shape to handle regulatory challenges.

Our specialist lawyers work as part of a multidisciplinary team, providing an integrated service so that legal risks and opportunities can be managed at all stages of a project. Our strong track record of regulatory advice incudes:

  • Waste law
  • Environmental Permitting
  • Environmental protection (contaminated land and water)
  • Conservation and wildlife protection
  • Health and safety law
  • Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH)
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres
  • Construction Design and Management
  • Food law
  • Planning law
  • GLA issues
  • Agricultural law

We advise on (and can also manage, if necessary) compliance issues such as:

  • Drafting and application processes for permits
  • Planning and compilation of safety reports
  • Environmental impact assessments

Our technical expertise gained outside legal practice and our familiarity with the prosecution process means we give practical advice on how to negotiate with enforcement bodies.

We can advise on:

  • Complex compliance issues
  • Incident investigation leadership
  • How best to avoid prosecution after an incident
  • Engaging with enforcement bodies to help shape enforcement policy
  • UK implementation of EU law

We can also use our expertise to resolve complex legal issues arising from legal audits and the implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

Defence of regulatory prosecutions

We have an excellent track record of helping clients:

  • Avoid prosecution
  • Fight cases
  • Reduce fines where prosecution is unavoidable

We invest time and effort during the investigative phase immediately after an incident and therefore maximise the chance that prosecution can be avoided altogether.

We are particularly experienced in sensitive prosecutions where adverse exposure and damage to reputation are significant concerns and we also have experience of working with PR professionals to manage these risks, when appropriate.

Liability and senior managers

Many regulatory offences committed by businesses can attract individual liability for senior managers, if the offence occurred with their “consent, connivance or neglect.” The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2008 makes the actions of senior managers particularly relevant, since the actions of more than one manager can now be aggregated to establish the offence of corporate manslaughter. We advise on exposure to these risks and give strategic, project-specific guidance on how to minimise the risks.

Environment, health and safety training for senior managers

We speak at regulatory law conferences and seminars, and can also provide tailor-made training on issues that affect your business.

Corporate responsibility: incident management plans

The immediate aftermath of an incident is fraught with risks associated with dealing with enforcement bodies and minimising adverse publicity. In the confusion that usually follows an incident, it is vital to have a plan for managing information, media and regulator contact effectively. It is also essential that internal investigations are conducted in an organised, legally compliant way. We can work with you to develop an incident-management plan that helps contain these risks and we are available on a 24-hour emergency line to help put the plan into action.

Legal risk assessment

For certain projects, the extent of the risks associated with environmental or health and safety breaches can be so significant that a systematic exercise in legal risk assessment is needed. This goes beyond the normal scope of operational risk assessments and looks at potential costs and implications of breaches, with the aim of preparing appropriate plans and control measures.

Specialist legal advice plays a crucial role in this kind of exercise and we provide expert assessment of:

  • Circumstances that can attract liability
  • Costs of remediation
  • Fines
  • Compensation
  • Business interruption
  • Legal issues

We also devise proportionate legal and operational measures to control these risks.

Specialist planning issues

Planning aspects of engineering and development projects often turn more on regulatory law than planning law: environmental impacts, major accident hazards and dangerous substances are all subject to specific legislation, which may well direct the planning authorities’ decisions.

We have an outstanding track record of leading negotiations with planners and enforcement bodies to navigate the legal constraints and planning considerations that can sometimes cause problems if interpreted too defensively by planning authorities.

Due diligence: mergers and acquisitions

Lyons Davidson’s environment and regulatory team provides environmental and health and safety due diligence in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Deals are typically high value, such as the purchase of multisite, specialist facilities.

Lawyers usually approach regulatory risk by obtaining the relevant contractual warranties. However, we go further than most other lawyers because of our specialist knowledge and we can discover the true state of compliance and make an accurate assessment of risk. This strengthens our clients’ position in price negotiations, enables us to obtain stronger contractual protection for our clients and also gives them a head start in managing and resolving compliance issues after a deal has been completed.

Supply chain due diligence

We support our business partners’ environmental auditing capabilities by offering a desk-based due-diligence process that ensures they can achieve their environmental and sustainability obligations at each level of the supply chain. This process can be put on a contractual footing to allow for a fair system of redress if problems occur.

Commercial agreements: drafting environmental provisions

Working in conjunction with our colleagues in the commercial and property law departments, we provide environmentally focused contract-drafting services. This helps achieve contractual certainty in areas that are often poorly understood by traditional contract lawyers. This kind of certainty can be vital in the context of multicontractor projects or collaborative research and development projects.

Horizon scanning

For many companies, planning and business development depends upon understanding the legislative landscape of the future. International law is driving forward sustainability related targets on:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy
  • Planning
  • Construction
  • Waste processing
  • Transport

Therefore, understanding the risks and opportunities presented by impending legislation in these areas is key to the long-term success of a business. We can provide a horizon-scanning service that maps out future regulatory changes and assists with strategic decision making.

For more information, please get in touch.

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