Michelle is an Associate in the Regulatory team.
She advises on statutory investigations and prosecutions in regards to alleged breaches of environmental regulations, health and safety, food hygiene, trading standards, fire safety, nuisance and data protection offences. In addition, she supports clients at inquests.
Acting for companies, directors and individuals, whether privately funded or under the auspices of their insurance cover, she provides guidance on their best defence at each stage: pre-charge, post-charge and through court proceedings if necessary. Her creative approach and her willingness to challenge the legitimacy of the legal basis of each regulatory complaint means that she prevents most cases from reaching court.
Providing guidance on broader risk management issues, she often provides training on health and safety and environmental issues. In the aftermath of any serious incident, she also carries out an independent company investigation – having one prepared by a solicitor benefits from professional privilege which can be useful when planning a company’s defence.
Recent examples of how Michelle has supported clients include:
- getting the HSE to drop their investigation of a senior manager, who had been highlighted by an employee during an inquest into the death of an agency worker on site at a logistics company;
- showing that a care home had relied wrongly upon a ‘practice report’, prepared as a favour by a would-be fire safety consultant, instead of commissioning a formal professional report and thereby absolving our client of responsibility;
- successfully defending several companies which had been charged with illegally dumping waste on a piece of land, by showing that there was no legal basis for the charges alleged by the local authority;
- seeing off a food safety investigation into a supermarket landlord, when the catering concession was accused of a breach of food safety legislation, by showing that the supermarket was not a food producer.