Welcome to the latest edition of the Litigation Know How brief, prepared by Devonshires’ Commercial Litigation team. The last six months has seen our team continue to be involved in some landmark cases, including:
- Obtaining what is understood to be the first freezing injunction over Bitcoin in the UK Courts;
- Challenging the decision of the DPP in Northern Ireland to refuse Dennis Hutchings a jury trial; and
- Advising a housing association on a Company Voluntary Arrangement which is the first in the regulated social housing sector.
These cases are just three examples reflecting the breadth of work undertaken by our team. To find out more, read on for further insights into our work and an overview of some of our recent successes. We are also working with a growing number of clients, including public sector organisations, small to medium enterprises and large multinationals, may of whom are suffering from increasingly sophisticated forms of fraud, particularly bank fraud. This is an issue discussed in more detail in this brief, but often involves changes made to payment details which, at first glance, are difficult to detect. Many banks are now requiring you to certify that a payment has been received in a secure form. Emails are increasingly unsecure and so encryption programmes, faxes, post or simply speaking over the telephone with someone that you know, are sensible alternatives when confirming payment details of receipts.
If this happens to you, our advice is to:
1. Act quickly;
2. Notify your insurer and Action Fraud (although note that the majority of fraud cases are not solved); and
3. Obtain specialist legal advice with a view to recovering any fraudulently obtained monies.
As well as payment fraud, we also advise on a wide spectrum of other fraud matters including fraud prevention advisory work, freezing injunctions over fraudulently obtained monies, and general advice regarding internal policies and procedures. Successfully preventing and combatting fraud can save organisations a lot of money, and a key factor in achieving this is through the use of artificial intelligence as we explain in this brief.
I hope you enjoy the contents of our Litigation Know How brief.
Featured articles listed below.
Does Artificial Intelligence Hold the Key to Tackling Fraud?
Physical and digital threats are converging; fraudsters are evolving more elaborate and dishonest schemes to defraud companies. Rapid changes in technology are creating new vulnerabilities for fraudsters to exploit but it is often the simplest frauds that can cost companies thousands of pounds or more.
Companies are susceptible to corporate fraud at every level from the post room to the board room. Fraud is pervasive, some of the more common corporate examples include:
1. False accounting
2. Procurement/fake invoicing
3. Transaction attacks
4. Personnel management fraud
5. Identity/data theft
6. Misuse of company assets
7. Insurance fraud
8. Expenses fraud
A Beginner’s Guide to Inquiries and Investigations
In public and commercial situations there is an almost infinite variety of inquiries or investigations that might be carried out when something has, or is perceived to have, gone wrong. It is important that the facts giving rise to this situation be determined as accurately as possible, and for lessons to be learned that might prevent any repetition.
Public and Judicial Inquiries
At one end of the scale there are public or judicial inquires such as those which have been completed relatively recently into Bloody Sunday (Lord Saville) and the Iraq War (Sir John Chilcot) and those currently underway into child sexual abuse and Grenfell. This type of inquiry will only be initiated by a Government Minister in circumstances where the event(s) have caused or are capable of causing public concern. Such an inquiry generally receives huge publicity but can often take many years to complete and can cost many millions of pounds.
Case Law Round Up – Litigants in Person
In March 2018, Sir Terence Etherton identified that permission to appeal applications made by litigants in person (“LiPs”) in the civil division of the Court of Appeal stood at 42% of all applications for the 12 months ending 31 January 2018. Given that nearly half of all Court of Appeal matters now involve LiPs, it is important for both represented parties and potential LiPs to be aware of the latest developments concerning their treatment by the courts.
Generally, represented parties should take into account their opponent’s unrepresented status, for example by preparing trial bundles when the burden would normally fall on the LiP. This is not likely to change. However recent decisions show that LiPs are not able to blame non-compliance with important legal provisions merely on their unrepresented status.
Cryptocurrency Fraud is Rising and so is Litigation
Cryptocurrency fraud is rising and becoming increasingly more sophisticated, risking the loss of potentially huge gains and triggering litigation claims.As highlighted by a case we are working on, even FCA regulated FX traders can scam investors looking to profit from selling their Bitcoins.
About the Case
Devonshires has been instructed by a private investor who has been scammed by an FCA regulated FX trader during the sale of £1 million of Bitcoins. We have since obtained, what we believe to be, the first Bitcoin freezing injunction in the UK courts.
Our client wanted to capitalise on their recent Bitcoin gains and use the proceeds to purchase a London property. Given the daily volatility of a Bitcoin’s value, the client wanted to instruct a specialist broker who could maximise the price obtained.