What we do

  • [David Corker is] universally acclaimed as a leader in his field, with sources describing him as “a titan – his legal knowledge is excellent and he’s a real fighter for his clients.”

    Chambers UK 2011

  • Andrew Smith is praised for his ‘great mind’ and academic approach. Sources comment that ‘he has a very measured and reassuring way about him, and the quality of his work is fantastic.’ He is also recognised for his strengths in extradition and international crime cases.

    Chambers UK 2015

  • The 'especially talented' Robert Brown leads a criminal defence team that recently represented Ronnie Wood…the firm is also acting in a number of high profile and politically sensitive Terrorism Act investigations. David Corker is highly recommended.

    Legal 500 UK 2010

  • Fellow founder David Corker is a former police constable and his clients can expect “very good client management and care from an extremely bright lawyer.”

    Chambers UK 2012

  • [Peter Binning is] admired for his strong commitment to his clients’ best interests.

    Chambers UK 2011

  • Corker Binning’s ‘top niche practice’ is praised as being ‘on a different level’. David Corker ‘has the skill and tact to deal with difficult negotiations’, and Peter Binning is an ‘outstanding tactician’ with ‘excellent client skills and judgement’. ‘Rising star’ Andrew Smith represented a former company director in relation to Operation Tabernula. Robert Brown is also recommended, for his ‘wealth of experience’.

    Legal 500 2015

  • Andrew Smith is "a very accomplished and knowledgeable extradition practitioner." He is recommended for his abilities in politically sensitive matters involving high-profile figures.

    Chambers UK 2016

  • Peers remark on the growing strength of Gemma Tombs‘s practice, saying she is “building a presence that stands out.” She recently acted on the Mohammad Asif cricket match fixing case.

    Chambers UK 2013

Environmental crime

The Environment Agency (EA) is an active prosecutor of small and medium sized businesses, as well as their directors and officers. The financial, practical and reputational damage associated with an EA prosecution is enormous. But the law on which such prosecutions are brought – particularly concerning waste disposal and exports – is often ambiguous. Partly for this reason, the EA has in recent years witnessed the collapse of a number of its prosecutions. As well as misunderstanding the law, the EA has also been criticised for paying little heed to the commercial realities of businesses targeted with a criminal investigation but which have previously received no meaningful guidance or regulatory oversight from the EA.

If your business learns that it is subject to a criminal investigation by the EA, it is important to instruct a law firm with expertise both in EA prosecutions and the criminal law generally. At Corker Binning we have experience of a number of high-profile EA investigations and prosecutions, including cases brought into environmental incidents including alleged water/air pollution, or cases of alleged non-compliance with waste regulations, including the storage, disposal and export of paper, plastics and metals. We are aware of the evidential issues that often arise in these cases. We have experience of using these issues to persuade the EA not to prosecute.

At Corker Binning we are also able to draw on our wider experience of criminal law to adopt a strategic approach to each case: we know how to prepare company directors for interviews under caution; how businesses should respond to search warrants or informal requests for documentation; how a business can seek to operate despite a criminal investigation; how to analyse evidence forensically with a view to its admissibility and weight in any future criminal trial; how and when to articulate the right line of defence or mitigation; and how best to negotiate a non-prosecution outcome that can be justified by the facts of a particular case.

This last point is particularly important. Businesses are frequently able to avoid prosecution by the EA by accepting a civil penalty under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2009. The EA regularly uses these penalties, which include monetary penalties, variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, restoration notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings. We negotiated one of the first enforcement undertakings for a company that breached the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations.

If a prosecution is unavoidable, we are able to draw on our daily experience of acting in all types of criminal cases in the Magistrates Court and Crown Court. Our advice is realistic and informed by recent developments in the law. All businesses prosecuted by the EA must now take account of the higher sentences available under the Sentencing Council’s Environmental Offences Guideline, which came into force on 1 July 2014. The guideline makes it clear that most environmental offences, if prosecuted, now carry significant fines and the potential for imprisonment of directors who are regarded as complicit in the commission of an offence. They make the need for expert criminal advice at the earliest stage of an EA criminal investigation all the more important – both in terms of ensuring the business survives but also in terms of protecting the personal liberty of those controlling the business.

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If you would like to talk about your case with one of our specialists in environmental crime, please call us on 020 7353 6000 and ask to speak to our partners Peter Binning or Andrew Smith.