“Having devoted most of my career to public prosecutorial roles and with a deep knowledge of criminal prosecutions, I offer clients highly informed guidance both strategic and operational on criminal investigations, business crime and fraud, often of an international nature, as well as on sanctions and crisis management.”
Education and qualifications
Before joining Linklaters in 2019, Alison was the most senior public prosecutor in England and Wales, as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). As someone with such unrivalled level of experience and knowledge of criminal prosecutions, Alison is able to offer clients unique insight into investigations and prosecutions by criminal and regulatory agencies in the UK and around the world.
Alison works in close collaboration with the colleagues in the U.S., Europe and Asia to offer clients comprehensive, multifaceted strategic advice on criminal, regulatory or investigatory matters, as required. She is an expert on fraud, ABC issues, sanctions, proceeds of crime and criminal environmental matters.
Alison also has extensive experience of dealing with, as well as appearing before, parliamentary select committees, and is well placed to advise individuals called on to appear before parliamentary select committees, inquries or similar bodies.
- Alison acted for Southern Water in connection with the largest criminal investigation the Environment Agency has conducted in its 25-year history. The team, led by Alison Saunders DCB , provided legal and strategic advice in the investigation and resulting criminal proceedings sentenced in the Crown Court in July 2021. This case resulted in judicial guidance being given on the application of the relevant sentencing guidelines to very large organisations.
- Alison provides legal and strategic advice to a number of utilities companies in connection with ongoing regulatory and criminal investigations. This has involved advising on various corporate governance issues arising. The alleged offences have been the subject of parliamentary scrutiny and public scrutiny.
- A team led by Alison Saunders DCB has provided legal and strategic advice to a UK listed mining company in relation to the extra-territorial application of the UK Anti Bribery Act (2010) and the FCPA. Later training was provided in country on these issues. The advice concerns the largest site in the world for extracting the relevant commodity which is jointly owned with the Government of the country in whose territory the site is located. The advice allowed the client to recommence operations successfully.
- Alison has advised in relation to a multi-national criminal investigation by the Environment Agency and other international prosecutors into alleged breaches of regulations on the disposal of waste. The matter was high profile and garnered attention from the United Nations and the media. This involved conducting an internal investigation into the issues as well as providing legal and strategic advice to the directors on their interactions with the authorities and potential satellite litigation.
- She has advised a private overseas Bank in relation to a concurrent regulatory investigation and supervisory processes, criminal investigation, challenge of an administrative penalty (including through judicial review), as well as the discharge of a property freezing order (“PFO”) made in the context of Proceeds of Crime legislation. The parallel investigations and litigation stemmed from allegations that structures facilitated by the client and a third party investment manager were implemented to subvert the Bank’s reporting obligations arising from the domestic implementation of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”). Working with local counsel, we provided litigation and strategic advice in respect of the various issues faced. The Bank was helped to successfully navigate these issues through to in-principle settlement of all matters. This matter was significant both due to the complex legal issues raised and the potential consequences for the client and domestic financial sector. It involved mixed criminal, civil and regulatory issues and concerned new and untested laws (including in relation to the CRS), the interpretation of which has potentially significant consequences for the domestic financial sector. The matter value was significant, as were the potential reputational consequences for the client, group companies and associated individuals.
- Alison has advised numerous client on all aspect of UK sanctions law including applying for licences, appealing against a licence refusal and navigating the ever changing sanctions landscape working with colleagues in the US and Europe on cross border sanctions cases.
Alison was previously a member of the Sentencing Council. The council promotes greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary.
Alison is a trustee of JUSTICE a law reform and human rights charity, working to reform the UK justice system with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.