The Investigations Virtual Conference, took place from Tuesday, 14 September – Monday, 27 September and on Monday, 4 October 2021, co-organised by 11KBW and CM Murray LLP. The programme brought together leading experts from the UK, US and Europe to discuss key issues in planning, conducting and managing investigations in their jurisdictions.
Please join us for this conference of knowledge sharing and networking in this crucial area for multinational businesses, senior executives and partners. The conference is aimed at HR professionals, in-house counsel, private practice lawyers, and other professional advisers in this area. Please see below for registration and a summary of current speakers and panel topics.
1. Keynote Session: The Rationale and Architecture of Investigations
The Investigations Virtual Conference opened with a talk by Dame Laura Cox, a highly experienced investigator who was responsible for the investigation into sexual harassment in the House of Commons. She explored the purpose of investigations and her experience as an investigator. This was followed by a panel discussion between Dame Laura, David Smellie and Beth Hale, who considered common questions about investigations, including whether independence is necessary, what can go wrong, and whether investigations can ever achieve culture change.
Elizabeth Prochaska, 11KBW (Chair)
Dame Laura Cox, Cloisters (Keynote Speaker)
Beth Hale, CM Murray LLP
David Smellie, Farrer & Co
2. International Perspectives on Investigations
In this session, the panel explored some commonly-occurring issues arising in investigations from the perspective of the US, France, Sweden and the UK; from the very different approaches taken as regards legal privilege and document production, to innovations in whistleblowing laws, the role of works councils and collective bargaining. We look at the Cuomo investigation and the rise of social media disclosures, and trends such as challenges to cultural competency and attempts to use individual grievances to enlarge the scope of workplace investigations.
Merrill April, CM Murray LLP (UK) (Chair)
Elizabeth Gramigna, Tribu Partners (US)
Mathilde Houet-Weil, Weil et Associés (France)
Carl-Fredrik Hedenström, Morris Law (Sweden)
3. Making Effective Recommendations following an Investigation
This session explored how recommendations fit in throughout the investigations process as a whole from start to finish. This includes the practicalities and key issues investigators need to be thinking about, and how to put their findings into practice and effectively drive cultural change within an organisation. It featured broader insights from Marcus Shepheard (Institute of Government) and Julie Dugdale (Barnardo’s), covering a wide range of enquiries, reviews and investigative processes which they have been involved in as part of their work.
Beth Hale, CM Murray LLP (Chair)
Marcus Shepheard, Institute of Government
Julie Dugdale, Barnardo’s
4. Being the Subject of an Investigation
This session focused on the issues that arise for people who are the subject of investigations, including legal, media and PR strategies, and the psychological impact of investigations as well as how to manage an investigation and provide support to its participants.
Elizabeth Prochaska, 11KBW (Chair)
Merrill April, CM Murray LLP
Gus Sellitto, Byfield Consultancy
Dr Filippo Passetti, Cognacity
5. Understanding Privilege in the Context of Investigations
In this session, Wonu Sanda, Senior Associate at CM Murray LLP and Patrick Halliday, Barrister at 11KBW, discussed some of the key and knotty legal and practical issues that arise in relation to understanding privilege in the context of investigations, including: what legal professional privilege is and how it might arise in the context of internal investigations, why it is important, understanding its scope and limits in investigations, myth busting some common misconceptions, and practical tips on preserving privilege.
Wonu Sanda, CM Murray LLP (Chair)
Patrick Halliday, 11KBW
6. Overlapping Regulatory and Criminal Proceedings in Investigations
This session gave real insight into the anatomy and practicalities of a criminal and regulatory investigation, with the panel sharing what they had learnt from their direct experiences on the ‘front line’. Our speakers also discussed what the participants of an investigation (the employer, complainant and the accused) should consider from an employment, regulatory and criminal perspective during the investigation process.
Clare Murray, CM Murray LLP (Chair)
Tom Ogg, 11 KBW
Nick Vamos, Peters & Peters
David Fisher, CM Murray LLP
7. Communicating with Participants during Investigations
In this session, Kathleen Heycock, Partner at Farrer & Co, and Robert Lewis, Managing Associate at Mishcon de Reya, will provide their tips, best practice and pitfalls to avoid in communicating with participants through the journey of an investigation. The discussion will cover communications with complainants, subjects of investigations and witnesses, dealing with issues such as requests for anonymity, confidentiality, the avoidance of perceptions of bias and wellbeing.
Aileen McColgan, 11 KBW (Chair)
Kathleen Heycock, Farrer & Co
Rob Lewis, Mishcon de Reya
8. What does a good Investigation look like?
Emma Bartlett, CM Murray LLP, and Clive Sheldon QC, 11KBW, discussed the importance of establishing clear terms of reference at the start of an enquiry, tips and best practice throughout the investigations process as whole, as well as outlining the types of investigations, both private and independent, they have been involved in over the last few years.
Emma Bartlett, CM Murray LLP (Chair)
Clive Sheldon QC, 11 KBW
9. Closing Session: Managing Data Protection and Disclosure Issues in Investigations
In this final session of the conference, the panel discussed managing data protection during investigations and enquiries, in particular:
- Establishing what data will be captured as part of the investigation, how it will be managed and who will be the information controller(s)
- Practical issues such as evidence collection and handling witnesses
- Whistleblowing and data protection rights
- Minimising the risk of unlawful processing of data
- Managing and balancing competing interests of the parties involved
- The ICO consultation on data protection and employment practices
Jonathan Kirsop, Pinsent Masons LLP (Chair)
Laura Gillespie, Pinsent Masons LLP
Julian Blake, 11KBW
Jen Coyne, 11KBW
Read our Little Book of Employment Law here.
CM Murray LLP is ranked in Band 1/Tier 1 by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 for Employment (Senior Executives), ‘“they’re top-notch lawyers and are very knowledgeable, dedicated and reliable. The team is particularly business-minded and operates with an international mindset, meaning that they are very comfortable with cross-border issues.” (Chambers and Partners UK 2021).