Corporate Crime

"They have a fantastic practice in this area."

Chambers UK 2021

Our heritage as criminal law experts makes us a natural go-to firm for companies which find themselves at risk of criminal investigation and prosecution.

Like individuals, companies are subject to the criminal law and can be prosecuted. The last few years have seen a trend in prosecutors targeting companies, both in the UK and overseas. Prosecutors have been assisted in doing so by the so-called failure to prevent model, introduced into our law by the Bribery Act 2010, and extended to include the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion offence contained in the Criminal Finances Act 2017.  

The investigation and prosecution of a company will often run in parallel with proceedings against individuals, which may include the most senior personnel. On conviction, companies can expect a significant fine, as well as being ordered to make confiscation and costs payments. If the company reaches a settlement with the authorities in the form of a deferred prosecution agreement, it will have to make payments to cover a penalty, compensation and costs and it will also have to demonstrate that it is reforming itself. This may lead to the appointment of an independent monitor to assess and report on the effectiveness of a company’s compliance and ethics policies and procedures. However the criminal case is disposed of the company will almost inevitably face risks of debarment from public contracts, follow-on civil claims and reputational fall-out, all of which need to be mitigated and contained.

Frequently, jurisdictional issues arise and a company may find itself subject to investigations based on the same or similar facts but conducted by different investigators, prosecutors and regulators, both from within the UK and abroad.

Having worked on landmark cases in this field, we are well placed to advise on corporate criminal liability issues and we are trusted to guide companies through the process of investigations, self-reporting and negotiating with prosecutors to achieve the most favourable outcome. Our diverse client base spans FTSE and other listed or international companies to traditional smaller enterprises.

How we can help

  • We conduct internal investigations to identify issues and scope risks, advising on whether and, if so, how best to self-report to the authorities.
  • Our lawyers have un-rivalled experience of deferred prosecution agreements, and we can advise you on the process, your best strategy for achieving one and then negotiate the agreement.
  • We can steer you through complex cases where the same or similar conduct is investigated by multiple agencies, including from overseas. In such cases, we partner with experts around the world to provide the best possible joined-up advice.
  • We are specialist criminal litigators and, if a settlement is not on offer or is not acceptable, we can ensure you are properly defended.
  • We advise directors and officers on their duties and on specific compliance/governance obligations and issues.

Our approach

We understand the law in this area is complex and can sometimes lead to unpredictable outcomes. We can guide companies through the rules and help them position themselves to their maximum advantage.  

We are happy to work alongside other corporate law firms to bring our specialist criminal expertise to bear, or to work independently to secure the best possible outcome for corporate clients.

We also work closely with our colleagues in Reputation Management, Civil Fraud, Regulatory and Corporate and Commercial, as required, to offer a comprehensive service.

If your company has concerns about the risk of potential criminal misconduct, please contact one of our specialist corporate crime lawyers.


The firm has very good criminal lawyers with strength and depth throughout the department."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

I believe their strength lies in their meticulous attention to detail and the intelligence of the individuals employed by that firm. I could not imagine a better law firm."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

This top-tier UK-based firm stands out in the region for its distinguished white-collar crime practice."

Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence, 2018

They guide you expertly through the criminal and regulatory landscape in a very effective, practical way."

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Kingsley Napley are collegiate and easy to work with. You know you could give work to any of the partners, it wouldn't matter because you know they would all give good advice." 

Chambers and Partners, 2018

Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘exceptionally experienced group of solicitors’ has ‘a solid level of experience’ in all areas of corporate crime including serious fraud, reputation management, regulatory liability and compliance, and also has a strong international practice with respect to cross-border tax, MLA and extradition issues."
 Legal 500, 2017

They are determined to do the best for their clients at all times and leave absolutely no stone unturned. It is a brilliant defence firm."      

 Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

The criminal litigation department at Kingsley Napley LLP continues to ‘hold its own against the Magic Circle firms’."

Legal 500

Recent work

Specific examples of current and recent corporate crime work include:

  • Acting for Tesco plc in the SFO’s investigation into financial irregularities and Deferred Prosecution Agreement reached in April 2017.
  • Advising a computer company, being investigated for the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery under section 7 of the Bribery Act.
  • Advising a global cosmetic group of companies
  • Advising a London brokerage in respect of a s.166 review and other regulatory matters
  • Advising a FCA-regulated institution in respect of internal fraud
  • Acting for a well-known media organisation which was served with a request for information from overseas in respect of criminal proceedings being undertaken in that jurisdiction
  • Instructed by a FTSE 250 company to advise on money laundering / proceeds of crime concerns arising from on-going confiscation proceedings
  • Acting for three emergency plumbing businesses  (and Managing Director) in relation to fraud and consumer protection related offences.
  • We are instructed by a global professional services firm in relation to a private criminal prosecution against two of its staff members (and others), alleging fraud.
  • Acting for corporate group in relation to a police investigation 
  • Our Criminal, Dispute Resolution and Employment teams are advising an asset management company  holding a sovereign wealth fund which is bringing civil proceedings against three individuals, including a former director.
  • Advising a Hedge Fund in connection with an on-going tax investigation commenced in Germany. 
  • Supporting an investigation being conducted on behalf of global bank. 
  • Acting for a multi-national film company involved in an alleged large VAT fraud. Conducting an investigation and managing VAT liability issues. 


An excellent team of bright and dedicated lawyers."

 Chambers UK 2021

There is huge collective experience within the team."

Legal 500 UK 2021

One of the premier white collar defence teams in London."

Legal 500 UK 2020

Well-known name in the market, with deep expertise in all aspects of serious corporate crime including regulatory breaches and complex fraud. Adept at handling international corruption, fraudulent trading and false accounting matters. Well versed in bribery and money laundering investigations. Notable experience in advising on internal investigations and compliance, as well as in handling proceedings by government enforcement agencies."

Chambers UK 2020 – A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

One of the few original boutique white collar firms to truly develop an expertise in corporate contentious financial services work."

Legal 500 UK 2020


Read Louise Hodges' and Caroline Day's Chapter 'Witness Interviews in Internal Investigations: The UK Perspective'  in GIR's Practitioner's Guide to Global Investigations, Fourth Edition

Corporate Crime Insights

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Alun Milford quoted in various sources following the UK Supreme Court limiting the territorial reach of the SFO

Alun Milford, Caroline Day, Áine Kervick & Phil Salvesen contribute to the International Comparative Legal Guide: Corporate Crime 2021

Reform of corporate liability: two ways about it - Louise Hodges & Alun Milford write for PLC Magazine

Getting The Deal Through: Alun Milford & Áine Kervick discuss Anti-Corruption in the UK

Corporate criminal liability review could yield “radical and seismic” changes - Louise Hodges quoted in GIR

Alun Milford quoted following UK Governments "fence sitting" approach to reforms of corporate criminal liability laws

Companies House powers boosted to tackle £137bn dirty money deficit - Alun Milford quoted in Accountancy Daily

SFO struggles to process evidence during pandemic - Louise Hodges quoted in the Financial Times

COVID-19 Slows Pace of Existing UK Investigations - Caroline Day quoted in Law360

Worth of the Bribery Act under scrutiny: Louise Hodges quoted in The Times

Business and Government should brace for wave of fraud: Alun Milford quoted in The Telegraph

Alun Milford quoted extensively following Government's announced proposals to introduce an economic crime levy

When justice takes a holiday - Alun Milford quoted in Law360

Serious Fraud Office (SFO) issues co-operation guidance – Louise Hodges comments

Economic Crime Plan for 2019-2022 - Alun Milford quoted

DPAs: good deals or a two-tier system? - Alun Milford quoted in The Times

Deferred prosecution agreements are not the cosy deals they seem - Stephen Parkinson writes for The Times

4 Takeaways From UK Review Of Mostly Untested Bribery Law - Louise Hodges quoted in Law360

Brexit ‘will slow bribery policing’ - Louise Hodges quoted in The Times

UK is failing in the fight against money laundering - Alun Milford quoted in The Times

Briefs will always be in fashion - Katherine Tyler quoted in The Times

Kingsley Napley named as ‘Best law firm for financial crime, fraud & regulatory 2019’ by The Times

First anniversary of the new Anti-Money Laundering Regime – is it working? Nicola Finnerty writes for Compliance Monitor

GIR 100 2017: Kingsley Napley a world leader in cross-border investigations

Procurement and outsourcing: UK Government's anti-corruption initiatives in 2015

Seven years on: The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act

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The SFO's confirmation of a DPA in principle with Airline Services Ltd illustrates the balance between confidentiality and transparency in the DPA process

Will the Economic Crime Levy bring much needed investment in the fight against economic crime?

Recycling firm charged with corporate manslaughter

Fraud in the time of COVID-19

In-house lawyers and general counsel take note: will your communications be privileged?

The Corporate Offence of Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion: Two years on

SFO guidance on co-operation: more carrot than stick?

Crunching the numbers: is the National Crime Agency right to seek additional funding?

HMRC turns to companies to police tax evasion

SFO v ENRC: what did the Court of Appeal decide and what does it mean for lawyers?

No deal Brexit and financial crime: proposed regulations published

Tackling economic crime 2018-19

Corporate and individual accountability for international crimes: Kingsley Napley hosts second International Criminal Law Conference

Reform of corporate liability – renewed calls for change

The UK’s new National Economic Crime Centre

What is a Cartel?

FCA to regulate Claims Management Companies and caps on fees introduced

Search warrants at banks in the UK: what you need to know

Corporates in the spotlight: NCA and SFO confirm tackling money laundering a strategic priority

Guest blog: Corporate criminal liability under international law

Gambling Commission imposes record fine on William Hill for anti-money laundering failures

Litigation privilege: the Court of Appeal endorses ENRC

Guest blog: Should companies have a duty to prevent human rights abuses?

Business and Human Rights: Magnitsky clause now in force

HMRC takes on off-shore tax evasion

Will the new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion and enhanced international tax transparency change the landscape for tax investigations?

Failure to prevent tax evasion? Responsibility shifted from HMRC onto companies

Holding Corporates to Account: Criminal Liability for Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion

Corporate Crime Q&A: The new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion

New Guidance on Financial Sanctions – OFSI approach to compliance and enforcement

Privilege, Confidentiality and the Challenge of Modern Technology

The Magnitsky Clause Part 2: Profiting from the suppression of those who seek to assert their human rights?

The Magnitsky Clause Part 1: Profiting from the suppression of whistleblowers – what does it mean for business?

Anti-Money Laundering: new rules and regulations in play

Three companies convicted of corporate manslaughter in a week

Health and Safety Sentencing a year on from the new guidelines – What’s changed?

SRA NOT SFO: Professional obligations and s2 interviews - Law Society says do not compromise

A new criminal offence for corporates that fail to prevent human rights abuses?

FCA guidance on how firms should deal with PEPs: a proportionate approach

Internal investigations and legal professional privilege: an increasingly tricky area

All change for the PACE codes of practice?

FCA and PRA joint policy statement regarding enforcement decision-making

Senior Managers Regime – the FCA predicts more enforcement litigation in the new regime

Tackling overseas corruption: Committee recommendations for Department for International Development.

Corporate Criminal Liability – Consultation opened over need for reform

How the government took the fight to corporate criminals in 2016

Q & A – What do FCA regulated firms need to know about Financial Crime Return reporting?

New FCA Chief seeks to redefine mission of the organisation

Iso publishes standard on anti-corruption measures: independent certification or gentle reassurance?

Anti-money laundering and social responsibility: keeping the Gambling Commission at bay

Insider trading: the new market abuse regime

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