Obligations imposed by regulators touch on almost every aspect of commercial life. In addition to reporting requirements and penalties for failure to meet regulatory requirements, companies must be aware of the frequent revisions to the regulatory framework as well as newly published guidance. Keeping up with the regulatory aspects that affect your business can be a full-time job.
U.S. companies wishing to expand into the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the European Union will need to take careful account of the regulatory framework, both general and sector-specific. In addition, many businesses look for a competitive edge through exemplary compliance and wider corporate social responsibility standards. We understand that compliance and CSR issues can advance a business strategy and can help companies who want to be the leader in their industries.
For companies without a solid grasp on regulatory issues, failure to fulfill requirements can result in serious penalties. In the most serious circumstances, company directors and the company itself can face criminal sanctions, the results of which can be devastating for businesses and threaten the livelihoods of individuals. Over the past year, there have been a number of hefty fines imposed on organizations that have been found to have breached legislation, and this trend is predicted to continue. Our teams are accessible to handle organizational crises or interventions for urgent attendance at police or regulator interviews and for critical advice on regulatory issues as they emerge. It is often vital to take the correct approach from the first moment.
As a response to the growing importance of regulation for our clients' businesses, K&L Gates has dedicated one of its core practice areas to policy and regulatory work. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with regulatory issues, both in the United Kingdom and overseas. They work closely with lawyers in our offices in the United States, Asia, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, and Frankfurt to provide a global service. We put the right team together with the right people in the right fields from across the firm, responding quickly and effectively to protect our clients' interests.
With its European Regulatory practice, K&L Gates reflects the fact that many laws and regulations in European Union member states nowadays derive directly from EU law. Our European Regulatory group combines the knowledge, skills, and resources of our firm's European offices (London, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Brussels, and Milan) and, in many areas, mirrors and combines with the firm's U.S. and Asia-based practices and experience.
We advise European, U.S., and Asian clients on regulatory compliance - monitoring and training; regulatory and internal investigations; regulatory and government enforcement; public policy; and interaction with regulators. The substantive areas of law and industry sectors covered by our European Regulatory practice also reflect the strengths and focal points of K&L Gates as a whole, including legal areas such as:
We work with industry sections such as chemicals and life sciences; food and drugs; financial services; real estate; telecommunications, media/entertainment, and technology; energy; transportation; and waste.
A significant proportion of U.K. regulatory law derives directly from European Union law. For example, in recent years, most new health and safety legislation in the United Kingdom has been introduced to implement directives. There is now a developed body of European Union health and safety legislation. In complex areas particularly, U.K. legislation in most regulatory areas can best be understood in parallel with the source material (as is increasingly recognized by senior U.K. judges). Moreover, in some areas the relevant legislation is European Union legislation with no intervening U.K. legislation. Advice on the European Union regulatory framework may also usefully give a "snapshot" of how it operates, not just in the United Kingdom but also throughout the European Union.
K&L Gates' lawyers have significant experience advising on U.K. regulatory matters and on the underlying EU legislation and in dealing with regulators' interventions, including the following areas: