What we do

  • [Robert Brown is] “Highly intelligent, hugely experienced, full of common sense, and shrewd, and knows exactly how to pitch it.”

    Legal 500 2011

  • Peter Binning‘s well-established crime and media practice is highly respected in the legal community. The excellent quality of his work sees him described as an “absolutely first-class” adviser. He takes on complex international matters and regularly advises corporations on allegations of criminal behaviour.

    Chambers UK 2013

  • Edward Grange is viewed as a leading extradition practitioner. Sources say: “He cares deeply about his clients, he is passionate about the work he does and he is incredibly knowledgeable."

    Chambers UK 2015

  • At Corker Binning, department head Robert Brown ‘has the rare ability to nip potential prosecutions in the bud’. Known for its high-profile work, the firm has a specialism in extradition work, with the ‘very bright’ Andrew Smith recently acting in Shrien Dewani’s extradition proceedings.

    Legal 500 UK 2014

  • Andrew Smith is the head of the [Professional discipline] department, and is considered ‘a natural litigator’.

    Legal 500 2014

  • Sources say David Corker is ‘the first port of call for individual representation in a corporate crime context.’ He has significant experience in cases involving allegations of fraud and corruption, as well as cartel investigations.

    Chambers UK 2015

  • "It's a team effort there. From top to bottom and at every level, they are on top of their game."

    Chambers UK 2017

  • Peter Binning is right at the top of financial crime.

    Chambers HNW 2016

Cartel investigations

The Enterprise Act 2002 was intended to act as a spur to open and honest competition and a deterrent to hard core cartels. Since the Act came into force in June 2003, it has been a criminal offence for any individual to agree with another individual to engage in cartel activity, including market sharing, limitation of supply or production, price-fixing and bid rigging. Under the provisions of the 2002 Act, people found guilty of engaging in such cartels can be punished by a sentence of up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. Notably, the cartel offence has never applied to companies and only an individual can be prosecuted. Companies are dealt with under the UK civil competition regime where no criminal penalties apply.

Soon after the cartel offence became law in 2003, the then prosecuting authority, the Office of Fair Trading, expressed growing frustration with the need to prove dishonesty as an element of the offence. The failed prosecution in the BA/Virgin case was the low point for the OFT and from 1 April 2014 the cartel offence was substantially amended to remove the requirement for a prosecutor to prove dishonesty. A number of defences were provided to the amended offence, including the taking of professional legal advice.

Investigations into alleged cartels of this kind are carried out by the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority), the successor to the OFT, and since the criminal offence was created there has been a sharp rise in the number of individuals seeking representation during investigations.

At Corker Binning we have spent over a decade representing individuals in UK and international cartel investigations, whether they are in the position of being suspects or witnesses, and have built up a wealth of experience making us well qualified to advise individuals facing investigation and prosecution. We have acted for individuals in every cartel investigation brought by the OFT/CMA in the past decade. A vital aspect of any cartel investigation is judging how best to navigate the complexity of the leniency regime which can in some cases result in an agreement not to prosecute in exchange for co-operation. Establishing an effective working relationship with the company’s competition lawyers will often be an essential part of the process of mounting a successful defence of an individual facing a complex investigation.

Many cartel investigations take place across multiple jurisdictions, with the United States Department of Justice, in particular, being particularly keen to pursue anyone suspected of operating a cartel. The firm has years of experience working with foreign lawyers, particularly from the US in cross border cartel cases.

Based in central London, our partners include former City firm commercial litigators, a former prosecutor and an ex-policeman in their ranks, the kind of experience and perspective which enables us to see cartel investigations from all angles. Taking advice early on is important and individuals should seek urgent advice when considering making a whistle blowing report in a cartel case. The consequences of making such a report to the authorities without legal advice can be very serious and care is needed to avoid damaging mistakes which can result in prosecution. Cases of this kind are often long and complex, and we can provide expert help and advice on all aspects, including negotiations with law enforcement agencies here and abroad and advising on extradition. Chambers UK 2015 has this to say about us: “Specialist experience defending major cartel investigations. Frequently handles domestic and international work for senior figures such as managing directors.”

More

For more information about specific aspects of our cartel investigations practice, please visit company investigations, business crime and fraud, corruption & bribery, FCA investigations, money laundering and tax investigations or call us on 0207 353 6000. You can also read comment and analysis by our business crime lawyers and fraud lawyers on the Corker Binning Blog.

 Named as key individuals in the field of Financial Crime: Individuals: Cartel Investigations by Chambers UK 2017:

chambers-2017
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David Corker – Band 1

Peter Binning – Band 1

  • Corker Binning is ranked in Band 1 of recommended firms for Financial Crime: Individuals: Cartel Investigations by Chambers UK 2017.
  • Corker Binning is ranked as a first tier firm for Fraud by Legal 500 2016 and David Corker and Peter  Binning are named as leading individuals for Fraud.
  • Peter Binning is the most highly regarded individual in International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers 2016.