Uniquely within the Magic Circle of the English Commercial Bar Fountain Court is a market leader in corporate and individual commercial crime involving fraud, bribery, money laundering and the proceeds of crime (POCA), cyberfraud, deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs), sanctions, unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) and all forms of market abuse including insider trading.
Complementing our strength in Banking and Finance, Civil Fraud and Financial Services we act for banks and other multinationals assisting or implicated in global and domestic criminal investigations, as well as shareholders, directors and other individuals and corporates.
Members of Fountain Court have extensive experience in prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) stretching back to the landmark fraud trials of the 1980s. Today, we act both for and against the SFO, HMRC, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) during investigations and in freestanding or ancillary court proceedings.
Fountain Court has been instructed in almost every major recent financial corporate crime investigation in the UK, and in many matters which cross jurisdictions to the US, EU, Africa, India, and Central & East Asia, such as the SFO’s probes into Serco, Barclays (Qatar), ENRC, Alstom, LIBOR, FOREX, Autonomy Corporation, Innospec, James Ibori and Achilleas Kallakis, as well as the Dame Linda Dobbs review; FCA cases such as Operation Tabernula, Operation Saturn and the JP Morgan ‘London Whale’ probe; landmark civil proceedings such as ENRC v SFO and N v RBS and Sports Direct v FRC; and high profile applications for judicial review such as Unaoil and Newcastle United FC.
As these cases demonstrate, we specialise in the intersection between criminal, civil and regulatory liabilities and remedies/sanctions which have become such an important feature of modern-day business life. As such members of Chambers possess the unique agility to advise and act at the pre-action, interim and trial/appeal stages in proceedings before the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, Administrative Court, Crown Court and regulatory and professional disciplinary tribunals, as and when a cases require it.
The uncertainty, complexity, and longevity of these cases typically requires members of Chambers to be instructed, both at Silk and Junior levels, as soon as an issue arises to advise Boards and senior management and Compliance officers on the delicate balance between the competing commercial, corporate governance and regulatory interests in play and the appropriate strategic response. Members of Chambers are also instructed to: actively guide and monitor the progress of any internal and external investigation; advise and draft regulatory announcements; review, manage and draft responses to investigation reports; and to draft and present a variety of Board reports to ensure the Board and its directors understand and discharge their duties properly. We can provide appropriate teams at all levels of call depending on the nature and duration of the case.
Commercial crime also raises important issues of extradition, compensation, confiscation and directors’ disqualification. Fountain Court has considerable expertise in these areas as well as suspicious activity reports (SARs), suspicious transaction and order reports (STORs), and in outward and inward requests for international mutual legal assistance (MLA) between different States.
Like our Civil Fraud work the very serious nature of the allegations made in these cases means that much of the work in this field is advisory, with many contentious matters remaining out of the public domain.