Acting for a private security contractor, who had been subcontracted to provide surveillance personnel and vehicles to a London based company retained to protect a foreign Royal family visiting the UK. A contractual dispute ensued between our client and the main contractor regarding the licensing requirements for personnel deployed on the task. Resolution required detailed analysis of the licensing requirements of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, and whether operatives undertaking surveillance only fell within the definition of “manned guarding” and therefore required a SIA licence.
As provision of unlicensed operatives to carry out manned guarding constitutes an offence, the requirements and performance of the contract were both potentially illegal and unenforceable, and if that proved to be the case the client would not only be unable to recover payments pursuant to the contract but both parties might be exposed to potential criminal liability. The issue was resolved by negotiation without litigation and any potential prosecution was avoided. The issue was of significant importance to the client as the total contract value was in excess of £500,000.
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