A Guide to Conducting Internal Investigations
Jake McQuitty, a partner at Eversheds Sutherland, covers a topic that is extremely important for lawyers. All major corporate scandals, when they come to light, require a proper investigation, for which lawyers are almost inevitably called in to advise and assist. Closer to home, solicitors may need to investigate matters that have arisen in their own firms, such as potential serious breaches of the SRA Codes of Conduct, or sexual harassment of their employees.
In his preface, the author describes the book as ‘an attempt to tackle some of the regular misconceptions that arise, to shed some light on what a good investigation looks like and to help guide the investigator through the myriad, complex issues that may (and frequently do) arise’.
He tackles the most pressing concerns familiar to those who have to carry out investigations, such as maintaining confidentiality, the involvement of external personnel, the preservation of evidence, and the techniques for reviewing documentary evidence in the digital age. He deals in detail with the planning and conduct of interviews, and then the preparation of reports. A chapter is devoted to the knotty problems of confidentiality, data protection and privilege, and another chapter to whistleblowing.
The book will be a valuable resource for anyone responsible for setting up or carrying out an investigation. Mistakes can be costly, and can lead to both regulatory problems and media condemnation. This book will help all concerned to avoid those mistakes, and it is to be commended.
Gregory Treverton-Jones QC is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, London