Your company may be more familiar with using civil courts to resolve trademark infringements or large-scale fraud matters. However, criminal litigation may be an alternative to civil litigation or could effectively run in conjunction with civil litigation. We will always honestly advise you on what the most effective litigation route would be.
Here are a few reasons our clients often choose to use criminal prosecutions:
- If your company has budgetary constraints but a large fraud or counterfeit problem, prosecutions are typically cheaper and quicker than civil litigation.
- Prosecutions are a good deterrent due to the powers and sanctions of the criminal court– including confiscation, the threat of a custodial sentence and a criminal record. A conviction can also affect an individual’s ability to be a company director and to win contracts in the EU with Government agencies.
- Prosecution results can be publicised very easily and are easier to understand.
- In certain criminal prosecutions it’s possible to apply for legal and investigative costs from central government funds. This may mean that criminal litigation might make commercial sense despite the worth of the defendant.
- Where a defendant has been convicted of a criminal offence and benefited financially from their crime, it’s possible to ask the court to make a confiscation order in addition to a compensation order. A confiscation order is enforced by the court. Where a company has financially suffered as a result of the crime, it is possible for the company to be compensated for this loss.
- Private prosecutions are often used to tackle economic or large-scale crime that have not been understood or prioritised by traditional law enforcement agencies.
- Fraud prosecutions can be used in a broad array of situations – for example, any intended false representation made by an individual or company, in order to cause a loss to someone or gain a financial advantage, is prosecutable.
- With a private prosecution, the client controls the speed of the investigation and prosecution, rather than relying upon the police or CPS.
And a just a few reasons to use both criminal and civil litigation in tandem:
- If your company intends to commence both civil and criminal litigation, a criminal conviction can be persuasive evidence in a civil case. The civil case and the criminal case need not be against the same people.
- If run in tandem, criminal and civil proceedings can be very effective and will not be in conflict. For example, in criminal proceedings, there is now an obligation to fully reveal any and all defences at an early stage. In a civil case, where full disclosure is required later, it is now considered unlikely that a defendant would be excused from defending a civil claim simply because to do so might reveal or injure his probable defence in a criminal trial.
- If your company intends to investigate fraud or counterfeiting, the investigation can be used for both civil and criminal litigation. Further, it is possible, depending on how information has been obtained, to use information gained with powers in one jurisdiction in another jurisdiction to excellent effect.