Election Law Offences
Election law is a specialist and sometimes complex area of practice. We field a team of sophisticated and knowledgeable advisers offering a fast and responsive service on all public and administrative law and regulatory and criminal justice issues which can arise from political activity. We advise clients in relation to both local and parliamentary elections. Our aim is to achieve the legal and political objectives needed by candidates, agents, political organisations or donors.
The regulatory body in charge of the electoral process is the Electoral Commission, whose vast remit for investigation extends both to the organisations and individuals it regulates and to those it does not. There are many reasons why people can end up facing investigation and, in a few cases, prosecution by the Electoral Commission. Political inexperience, haste in the face of election deadlines or a lack of understanding with respect to the complex framework of guidelines surrounding campaigning and donating are among them.
Unfortunately, it is not just the inexperienced who may find themselves in need of legal representation. Even the most politically skilled operators can find themselves under investigation, or need themselves to challenge the political process.
We have advised high net worth donors on election funding offences under investigation by the Electoral Commission. We won an acquittal at trial in 2010 for Roger Matthews, a Maidstone politician accused of corruption offences. We recently acted on behalf of local activists concerned at their preferred candidate’s failure to achieve selection by a major party leading up to a significant local election, exposing major electoral irregularities in the selection process which resulted in our client’s party taking corrective action.
Given the intense media scrutiny of politicians, our track record in protecting our clients’ reputations is as crucial as our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the political process. A number of high profile politicians from major parties have taken our advice on how to handle significant legal problems which threatened them with political catastrophe, resulting in little or no press coverage.