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Crisis Response

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Whether you find yourself dealing with a workplace accident, environmental incident, financial crime allegations, serious data breach or an unexpected visit from a regulator, DWF's crisis management experts are on hand 24/7 to guide and assist you.

How we can help

We have a market leading reputation

A crisis can put into jeopardy your reputation, livelihood, key relationships and financial stability. Decisions made in the first hours of a crisis can often have an impact that resound for years. DWF provides early intervention and long-term support, to help protect you and / or your business.

Crisis Response brings together specialist advisers with detailed knowledge of managing crisis situations. Our experienced global team of lawyers, PR specialists, investigators and clinical psychologists are available 24/7 to offer advice in the immediate aftermath of an incident and to guide you through your crisis.

With offices across the UK and throughout the world, DWF can provide a multi-jurisdictional response to any business crisis. We can also utilise remote technology platforms to quickly access relevant data and streamline investigations. Our global team can efficiently review data and documents even in the most large scale investigations. 

Crisis situations may vary from organisation to organisation, but whatever situation you might be faced with, our experts can guide and support you.

DWF's top tier ranking Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations team has experienced lawyers across the globe who can help protect you and your business.

After mobilising the initial response team, we will work closely with you to advise you on how to protect your business and its reputation, support your workforce and engage with regulators.

We realise the importance of keeping your business moving forwards: we can assist you in ensuring business continuity by managing the investigation and actions following a crisis. We understand that crisis situations can be incredibly stressful and emotional for your employees and other stakeholders. Our Crisis Response team can also assist you in providing expert help to address psychological trauma.

Crisis Response lawyers work alongside specialist lawyers across multiple sectors and service lines. We can provide a full service to you to assist with all aspects of a crisis, not just regulatory investigations.

In a digital world, news travels fast and media attention generates rapidly and can have a huge impact upon an organisation's reputation. Having experienced PR specialists on hand can immediately contain the media interest and ensure you put forward the right response.

Our Reputation

Health and safety regulation is one of our key strengths. DWF is very well respected and our Chambers & Partners ranking reflects this. We work with many FTSE 100 companies across a diverse range of sectors and have provided expert advice following some of the country's most high profile incidents. We are able to assist with private instructions and also with insured companies to protect your business, whilst also managing investigations for insurers and closely collaborating with our insurance colleagues on civil matters, to ensure that efforts are not duplicated and your business interests are protected.

Clients and legal directories place our team as one of the leading firms in this area, and at the forefront of the continually developing area of health and safety defence. The DWF Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations team is recognised as a Band 1 team, with several of our Partners acknowledged as leading individuals. Our team is ranked as Band 1 within Chambers & Partners in their UK-wide listing for health and safety and we rank again at the top across Legal 500 directories.

Case Studies

Environmental: Tanker discharge into controlled waters
  • Call received shortly after accidental discharge of a large volume of substance.
  • DWF helped coordinate the client's early incident response, including the role of environmental consultant in recovery operation, harm mitigation and focussed testing of water bodies. This work enabled the client to isolate and address the potential harm.
  • Key support was provided in respect of the classification of the environmental harm and advising upon statutory notification responsibilities in accordance with environmental damage regulations.
  • DWF also supported the internal investigation to identify the cause of the accident and appropriate remedial actions. We have provided continued support monitoring and assessing the impact upon the local environment.
Transport: Fatal road traffic collision
  • Call received within half an hour of a fatal road traffic collision involving our client's lorry. The driver was still at the scene. 
  • DWF established contact with the police at the scene. The driver was being arrested and taken to the police station. 
  • DWF initiated its crisis response plan, coordinating initial incident management in respect to both the company and the driver, including attending the police station to represent the driver at interview, operator compliance and public relations. 
  • A thorough investigation was undertaken at an early stage, including scene and vehicle examinations, resulting in the vehicle, a valuable asset for the business, being released whilst ensuring that both the driver and company were fully protected. 
  • DWF continued to support the driver and company throughout the police investigation, Coroner's Court Inquest and Traffic Commissioner / operator licencing matters.
Health & safety: Large scale incident resulting in four fatalities
  • A call was received through the CRS phone line
  • DWF coordinated the client’s crisis response having been on site within 24 hours of the premature collapse of a building in which 4 employees tragically lost their lives
  • DWF mobilised a rapid response team to help with the document review and taking witness statements, as well as providing IT capability, PR and media support and an experienced counselling advice service
  • We have continued to work closely with the client, overseeing the internal investigation, managing the reputational risks and responding to the Police investigation
  • We have utilised e-discovery software to extract, store, review and process a large number of client documents
Health & safety: Construction fatality
  • DWF RCI advised a construction contractor following the death of a self-employed contractor on site
  • A lengthy HSE investigation followed, along with an investigation carried out by the Construction site Client. DWF's advice took into account the commercial relationship between the parties and also the contractor's contractual and legal duties
  • DWF was also able to advise on a whistleblowing allegation made by an aggrieved ex-employee relevant to the investigation, bringing in expertise from DWF's Employment practice
  • We advised throughout the inquest and in the appeal of a number of HSE Enforcement Notices which were successfully withdrawn
  • The case resulted in no further action by the HSE, which is highly unusual in a case resulting in a fatality
Health & safety: Fatal incident involving a child
  • DWF RCI were instructed on the day of a fatal incident within a college nursery
  • A 3 year old girl died on a her full day at nursery having been tragically entangled by rope on a slide
  • We mobilised a team of counsellors for the staff involved, independent legal support for nursery staff, media advisors and ancillary technical specialists within days of the incident
  • DWF were on site daily managing the investigation for the senior leadership and governing body
  • A multi-agency case followed involving the police, OfSTED and the HSE
  • This is one of a number of nursery fatalities that the team has worked on, as we have become known for our empathetic but controlled response to such tragic incidents
Health & safety: Corporate manslaughter investigation of a charity
  • Advising a charity client in relation to a Police led investigation into Corporate Manslaughter following the death of a volunteer during work at a charity project
  • We have advised from the outset following a lengthy and in-depth investigation of the charity in a technical and complex case, managing the investigation and the client’s responses carefully
  • We have worked with public relations consultants to liaise both internally and externally with members of the charity, the press and funders
  • DWF RCI’s advice has ranged from corporate defence through to the treatment of charitable funds for the purposes of fines, all whilst continuing to appreciate the nature of the organisation and reinforcing this with investigators
Health & safety: Listeria outbreak
  • DWF were instructed to act for a sandwich manufacturing company following an outbreak of listeria which resulted in 6 fatalities. The client and the rest of their supply chain were subject to investigations by the Food Standards Agency, local Environmental Health Officer, Public Health England, and coronial proceedings
  • Within a day of being instructed, DWF mobilised a team of solicitors, paralegals and DWF Resource consultants to attend site and carry out witness interviews and document collection over a number of weeks. Early attendance and representation was important due to the fact that the company was required to suspend operations as a result of the investigations and co-operate by providing information
  • Following the release of the company's name, there was significant national media interest, which included press turning up at work premises and at the home addresses of registered directors. DWF engaged crisis communications specialists who assisted in responding to media queries, and took the pressure off our client, enabling them to focus on assisting the various investigating bodies


What is a crisis

What is a crisis

'anything that can negatively effect your business', or 'a time of intense difficulty…. when important decisions must be made' or 'a critical event which, if not handled in an appropriate and timely manner, may turn into a disaster or catastrophe'. There is no one definition, but what we do know is that they are never expected, they can be very costly and can have devastating consequences.

Why DWFs Crisis Response

Why DWFs Crisis Response

DWF is a global legal business providing Complex, Managed and Connected Services. DWF's Tier 1 Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations team provides a first class service through its depth of knowledge and experience of handling some of the country's largest and most complex investigations.

What are the benefits

What are the benefits

A robust crisis management capability will help protect your organization, reduce the likelihood of a crisis occurring, mitigate the impacts of adverse events, aid recovery, support business continuity and limit damage to your brand and reputation.

Will I speak to a solicitor

Will I speak to a solicitor

After making the initial call to our Crisis Response service, you will be transferred to one of the specialist Solicitors in the Regulatory, Compliance and Investigation team.

Can I prepare for a crisis

Can I prepare for a crisis

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Not only are we on hand when the crisis occurs, but we can assist with all aspects of crisis management. Having a crisis plan in place will allow you to respond immediately and effectively. A crisis will never occur at a convenient moment and knowing how to respond and who will respond in the short, medium and long term will allow for an efficient and managed response.

Can DWF help with crisis planning

Can DWF help with crisis planning

Yes. We can work with you to develop a crisis plan or review your current crisis readiness plans and can tailor these to your business and carry out training so that your business is prepared for the unexpected.

What is a Dawn Raid

What is a Dawn Raid

An unannounced inspection of premises by a competition or criminal regulatory authority is usually the start of a lengthy, complex and potentially damaging investigation.

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T +44(0)3333202220


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