Colette Kelly / Partner, Criminal and Regulatory Solicitor / London
M +44 (0) 75 1519 6609
D +44 (0) 20 4542 4957
Expert lawyers you can trust to deal with complex and challenging investigations and cases that impact your business or private life. We provide robust, pragmatic and strategic advice, combined with exceptional client care.
If you, your business, or one of your employees is facing a criminal investigation, you need a proactive and expert defence lawyer, someone who understands the complexities involved. Meet Ince, your trusted partner, in any case.
Ince is renowned for the depth and breadth of its legal services. We recognise your needs and offer business-focussed legal services, together with advice to defend criminal proceedings where livelihoods, businesses or public reputations are at stake.
There is an increasing spotlight on financial crime, with new laws coming to play and greater pressure on individuals and businesses to comply. Our regulatory lawyers keep your deals moving whilst ensuring you meet the regulatory challenges.
Our lawyers will advise and prepare you for the key areas you need to address to safeguard and your business. Our experience, together with our breadth of complementary legal and consultancy services, makes us particularly well-placed to advise clients on business and financial crime as well as serious and complex crimes.
Explore this section of our website through the links to the left or find out more in our FAQs.
As soon as you become aware of an investigation by the police, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) or other agency, we suggest you contact us as soon as possible. Our emergency number is 07515196609.
Our defence lawyers will work to avoid an arrest and for you to be interviewed voluntarily by appointment. This avoids the risk of bail conditions being imposed, which could include non-contact with certain individuals and restrictions on travel.
If you are arrested, this could either be at your home address, your place of work or at an airport. Our lawyers can represent you at the interview.
We will liaise with the police to get as much information as we possibly can about the alleged offence. We will attend the police station and consult privately with you. We will advise you on how best to deal with the interview.
We will adopt a proactive approach at the pre-charge stage of an investigation, for example, by writing to the investigating agency to minimise the prospect of you facing proceedings.
Our dispute resolution lawyers can also help mitigate the risk of any adverse publicity.
An investigation by the police or other law enforcement agency will be incredibly stressful and you will be hugely relieved to be advised that no further action will be taken against you.
Unfortunately, there may still be hurdles for you to deal with. An enhanced DBS certificate can disclose not only matters that resulted in non-convictions but also often police investigations that did not result in prosecution.
If this ‘other relevant information’ is being considered for disclosure, police forces may write informing the applicant of this and provide an opportunity to make representations.
Our lawyers are able to make written representations to avoid the disclosure of non-conviction and non-charge information on an enhanced DBS certificate.
We can make representations to the Independent Monitor at the Home Office and advise on judicially reviewing a decision to include other relevant information on an enhanced DBS certificate. We have been successful in persuading various police forces not to include such information on enhanced DBS certificates, allowing our clients to continue working in their chosen profession.
Whilst a criminal investigation may have concluded, if you are in a regulated profession, disciplinary proceedings may follow or may have commenced; you may have been the subject of interim orders whilst the investigation was ongoing. We are able to advise on and represent in any disciplinary proceedings.
It is an unexpected visit from the police, FCA, SFO, HMRC or other investigatory body to search premises when they suspect a business or individual has been involved in criminal activity. It often includes the seizure of materials and digital devices relevant to the investigation.
Warrants can be obtained to search premises, not only of those under suspicion but third parties too, for example, accountants and financial advisors. Investigators are often aggressive in their approach, so a quick and effective response is needed.
Given the disruptive impact to you and your business, it is vital you act swiftly and seek immediate representation.
There are several actions our lawyers can immediately take:
We can help you devise procedures and a protocol so you know exactly how to respond if the prospect of a raid becomes a reality. This may be particularly relevant if you are based overseas but your business operations are in the UK.
The purpose of a restraint order is to freeze and preserve assets so that in the event of a criminal conviction, they can be realised when a defendant is made the subject of a confiscation order.
Restraint orders are usually applied for without notice and can be sought at any stage of a criminal investigation. A complex fraud or money laundering investigation can take years to resolve, which means you could be subject to a restraint order for a significant period of time.
Some restraint orders cover specified assets but many cover all assets, preventing you from dealing with your assets entirely apart from a weekly sum for living expenses. This can have a crippling effect on you, your family, and your business.
It may be that you are a named third party whose assets are caught by a restraint order and you want to extricate them.
Our lawyers can provide swift advice about discharging restraint orders. Where a discharge is not possible, we can engage with the investigators at an early stage and ask for variations to be made so that additional living expenses can be paid and your business can continue to operate.
You may be involved in a business dispute and threatened with a private prosecution (a prosecution started by a person or organisation who is not acting on behalf of the state).
Most begin with an application without notice for a summons to a Magistrates’ Court, accompanied by draft charges. If the court agrees to issue the summons, this will be served on you and include the date and time you must attend to answer the charges.
The private prosecutor must disclose all relevant information to allow the court to decide if a summons should be issued. Withholding of information may lead to a summons being set aside.
Our lawyers can advise you on applying to set aside the summons and/or argue it was an abuse of process to have it issued at all. We can also defend private prosecutions.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has far-reaching investigatory powers. Anyone who is the subject of an SFO investigation or who may have relevant information can be compelled under section 2, Criminal Justice Act 1987, to attend an interview, answer questions, and produce specified documents. Compliance is not optional and failure to comply is a criminal offence.
If you have been served with a section 2 notice, our lawyers can advise on the process, engage with the SFO, attend the compulsory interview, and advise on the status of documents to be disclosed.
There are other investigators with powers to compel the production of documents and attend interviews, including the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Insolvency Service. We will advise on the best way to deal with these notices and minimise the impact on your business.
Yes. Our defence lawyers can help with a wide range of serious and complex crimes, including assault, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, drug charges, sexual assault, and more.
It is imperative that you contact us as soon as you are arrested so that we can advise you and make representations on your behalf.
Emergency contact details: 07515196609
Colette Kelly is our expert in this area. She sits in the Regulatory Solutions team alongside colleagues who work in compliance, risk, regulation, AML, KYC, cryptocurrencies and licencing.
Colette has significant expertise in this area, with over 20 years of experience defending serious and complex allegations of fraud, proceeds of crime and confiscation proceedings, restraint orders and asset forfeiture. This includes cases investigated and prosecuted by the FCA, SFO, HMRC, CPS, Insolvency Service, Trading Standards, and local authorities.
Colette acts at every stage of the criminal process. This includes attending interviews conducted by police and other law enforcement agencies, whether by way of arrest or voluntarily under caution.
She advises at pre-charge stage and by way of reputation management, will make written representations to avoid the likelihood of a client facing criminal charges. Colette also represents clients facing trial before the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, on appeals, and at confiscation and enforcement proceedings.
In the event of an emergency, call 07515196609. This is a 24/7 service.
On 9 November 2022, the Law Commission published new reforms to overhaul the UK's criminal confiscation regime. In this article, Partner, Colette Kelly, assisted by trainee, Greg McManus, summarises the current position and looks at the substance of the suggested reforms.
Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of Formula 1, is set to face trial before Southwark Crown Court in October 2023 on a charge of fraud by false representation. The charge followed a “complex and worldwide” investigation by HMRC and relates to a Singapore Trust, which Ecclestone allegedly failed to declare for tax purposes, holding assets of an estimated £400m+. This is understood to be a substantial proportion of his net wealth, which is said to include real estate in various jurisdictions, a yacht and private planes.
Announced in Parliament on 22 September 2022, the proposed new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on 13 October and entered the Committee Stage on 25 October. The strategic objective of the Bill is contribute to the priority to reduce crime, increase the UK's prosperity and enhance security. This insight summarises the key provisions of the Bill.
22-02-2022 / Energy & Infrastructure
We previously reported on the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) entered into between the SFO and Amec Foster Wheeler Limited (Amec) relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector. The timing of the agreement was particularly significant, as it came on the tenth anniversary of the Bribery Act 2010 and was the tenth DPA entered into by the SFO. As part of the DPA, we reported that Amec had agreed to pay a financial penalty to authorities in the UK, US and Brazil, including compensation to the people of Nigeria.
16-12-2021 / Energy & Infrastructure
On 10 December 2021, the Court of Appeal in R v Akle & Anor  EWCA Crim 1879 concluded that the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) failure to disclose vital evidence had unfairly led to Ziad Akle (Akle) being convicted and jailed for bribery.
There will be occasions when Family law and Criminal law overlap. However, there will often be clashes and competing interests in the arena of confiscation proceedings and the determination of available assets.
The Sentencing Guidelines Council has today published the first sentencing guidelines for offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA).
19-07-2021 / Energy & Infrastructure
In a recent case before Westminster Magistrates’ Court, a District Judge has lifted an anonymity order protecting the identity of a couple, known presently as X and Y, who are challenging an application by the National Crime Agency ( NCA) for an account forfeiture order ( AFO ).
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