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United Kingdom > London > Crime, fraud and licensing > Overview > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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In 2015-2016, the corporate crime space saw the first-ever UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and the first admission of guilt by a corporation under section 7 of the Bribery Act. As a result, lawyers and clients now have a clearer idea of the expectations of the SFO going forward. Individuals facing allegations of financial crime may have more to fear than ever before, as the successful prosecution of Tom Hayes serves as an indication of the resolve with which UK prosecutors might seek individual convictions. Additional market trends in the fraud and corporate crime arena include a sharp increase in the number of whistle-blower allegations, as well as evolving sanction regimes, meaning that firms with sanctions expertise will be increasingly sought after in future.

With regards to general crime, the market is still plagued by substantial cuts to legal aid, with many firms having no choice but to forego their publicly funded practices altogether. Sexual abuse allegations – specifically historic cases – are on the rise, and in this context, lawyers note that the burden of proof seems to be shifting and the level of media coverage is often overwhelming, which presents unique challenges for firms acting for defendants.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Bark&co

Bark&co’s clients benefit from the support of one of the country’s leading fraud and business crime firms, ranked in Legal 500’s top tier for Fraud: white-collar crime in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Its skilled lawyers provide top-class advice to individuals and national/international companies on civil/criminal fraud, tax investigations, white-collar crime, corruption and serious crime.

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Virtually every civil fraud department is involved to some degree in claims arising out of the 2008 market crash. Russian and CIS litigation has not necessarily declined, but with more disputes pouring out of emerging markets such as South America and South-East Asia, and jurisdictions in North Africa and the Middle East, the civil fraud arena is no longer dominated by any single region. Furthermore, as the line between civil and criminal fraud is becoming increasingly blurred, firms with expertise in both areas will be well positioned to remain atop the market trends.

Mobile and online gaming seems to be the way of the future, and remote gaming operators continue to seek advice on expanding into UK markets following the Gambling Act 2014. There has been considerable market consolidation across the gambling sector, so in addition to licensing expertise, a strong M&A department is also relevant to gaming and betting practices.

In the licensing area, ability to work and maintain amicable relationships with licensing commissions is important as much of the high-profile leisure and hospitality work in London is coming from foreign investors, who expect to secure prime property in the city.

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