Our national Investigations and Crisis Management team has significant and extensive experience advising Australian and international businesses and executives about domestic and cross-border investigations and prosecutions.
We understand the keys to successful management of an investigation, we know the issues likely to emerge and the best way to resolve them and minimise the impact on your business.
Investigations: from readiness through to recovery
An audit reveals a suspected irregularity in your finances. Storage tanks leak at one of your plants. Police officers with a search warrant knock at the door early in the morning. A complaint uncovers a privacy data breach. A regulatory inquiry pinpoints an unidentified breach. Tax officers show up unannounced asking to see your business records.
Whatever the trigger might be, you need to respond quickly but knowledgeably. If you do not, you risk a panicked response that could create more problems and derail your business.
Our national Investigations and Crisis Management team will help you prepare for any potential or actual investigation with a rapid response plan, so the right people and processes are ready to manage the legal, ethical, commercial and reputational risks calmly and professionally.
Understanding what regulators want to achieve
When a regulator becomes involved, our clients often ask us, "what do they want?".
That question becomes even more pressing when the first regulator shares information with other local or overseas regulators, meaning you're facing multiple regulatory investigations.
Our many years of acting for and against them have given us unique insight into regulators' thinking and methods, so we know how they operate, what they want to achieve, and what they are looking for.
Strong experience in complex global investigations
When multinationals are under investigation on multiple fronts, they come to us for advice on the Australian aspects of international investigations. We have experience that is second to none in being the Australian element in a global legal team, working together to create a strategy that promotes your overall aims, yet is responsive to the unique aspects of the Australian regulatory environment.
If an investigation or prosecution in another country affects you, our strong relationships with experienced lawyers across the world mean that we can create a powerful multinational team to protect your interests.
A multidisciplinary Investigations and Crisis Management team to cover every possible angle and issue
An investigation into a single incident can lead to multiple investigations into angles and risks.
Our dedicated team understands the different requirements of and types of investigations, including:
Whatever the type of investigation, we spot the often multiple and overlapping risks and legal issues before they emerge so our clients can seize control and plan their response. These can include:
- stock exchange and other disclosure obligations;
- potential exposure of directors;
- the need to investigate, undertake due diligence or to take remedial action;
- privilege, confidentiality, waiver, and document management issues;
- specific reporting requirements to regulators and the community;
- negative publicity affecting brand, share price and directors’ reputation;
- potential civil and criminal proceedings;
- the risk of collateral civil litigation and shareholder class actions;
- the protection of whistleblowers and other workplace relations matters;
- privacy; and
Each industry has its own unique investigation challenges
It's not too hard for lawyers to identify the common risks and issues in investigations, but identifying the particular risks unique to your business takes deep knowledge of the environment you operate in.
Our team's experience spans a range of industries, so we can go beyond the commonplace and assess the particular risk areas for each client's business, and devise an individual strategy for dealing with them.
Reputation management and a route to recovery
Ill-informed, foolish or malicious comments not only add to the stress of an investigation, but can damage key relationships and, ultimately, your business.
We will give you pragmatic advice and systems to help you navigate adverse media, preserve your reputation, and ensure your message is heard, so that you can continue your relationships with your clients, customers, shareholders, and media commentators.
Strategic advice to the Board
We are highly experienced in liaising with, and presenting to, boards and senior management of major companies, including on significant strategic issues and matters concerning compliance with regulatory requirements, and statutory and fiduciary duties, including Corporations Act and continuous disclosure obligations.
Restoring relationships with expert dispute management
Once you have dealt with the immediate fallout of regulatory action, you need to move your relationship with the regulator away from being adversarial and potentially acrimonious.
Our experts in dispute management will help you rebuild a co-operative relationship that focuses on finding mutually agreeable outcomes, using all forms of alternative dispute resolution while minimising the impact on your business.
If an investigation turns into litigation, you can count on Clayton Utz
Our investigations team is underpinned by Australia's top-tier commercial litigation team. If regulatory litigation, a class action, asset recovery orders or the like are made by third parties off the back of an investigation, you can rely on the strength of Clayton Utz's class actions lawyers' proven capacity to manage class actions and to develop strategies to achieve the best commercial outcomes.
Dawn Raid App
Whether it's ASIC, the ACCC or the ATO, a regulator arriving at your premises to conduct a dawn raid will be a surprise and leave you reeling.
Our innovative Dawn Raid app keeps you on your feet with its step-by-step guide to dealing with a dawn raid as it happens.