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Read more articles in: Blog, Criminal, Gurjit Singh

What happens if my business is subject to criminal prosecution?

You may feel confused and bewildered by the criminal process. But we are here to make sense of what is happening.

Below are some examples of the offences that businesses may be investigated or prosecuted for.


The Bribery Act was introduced in 2010 to tackle this crime, and in Section 7, a new corporate offence – failure to prevent bribery.

It applies where someone associated with the company bribes someone, even if the organisation wasn’t aware of the bribery.

However, if the company can show that during the crime, it had sufficient procedures to prevent bribery, it could have a defence.

In 2016, the first prosecution under Section 7 of The Bribery Act 2010 resulted in a UK company paying over £2 million after it failed to stop bribes paid by its United Arab Emirates subsidiary.

Tax Evasion

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 contains the most current reforms in this area, Sections 45 and 46, which refer to the criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in the UK and overseas.

It could apply if an employee agreed with a supplier to issue false invoices to its company to dodge tax, for example.

However, if a company can demonstrate it had sufficient procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, there could be a defence.

There were 14 investigations relating to these offences as of May 2021. But there were no charges or prosecutions.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974)

This act provides a legislative framework for employers to ensure that their employees and the public are not at risk from their work activities. The general duties imposed by the HSWA 1974, which it is a criminal offence to breach, are:

  • Ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all employees at work
  • Ensuring non-employees who may be affected by work activities are not at risk

For information on what happens during investigations by the police and the Health and Safety Executive and the plea, trial and sentencing process at court, tune into our next criminal blogs.

Have you been accused of committing a crime? We help clients through all stages of the criminal justice process. For advice and representation, get in touch with our expert team today.


Gurjit Singh

Associate – Criminal Department

As a member of the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS), holder of the Higher Rights of Audience (HRA) qualification and duty solicitor for the Coventry area, I regularly represent clients in a wide range of criminal cases, including road traffic offences.