Former cabinet minister Peter Hain MP has acknowledged the role played by Russell-Cooke in clearing his name of allegations relating to the late registration of donations in the elections for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party.

The MP was advised from the outset by the firm's regulatory specialist partner John Gould and criminal litigation partner Jae Carwardine, assisted by Colette Kelly.

The high-profile case, which was referred to the police by the Electoral Commission in January 2008, turned on the position of donations to Hain4Labour under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

On December 5 the Crown Prosecution Service closed the case on the published basis that Peter Hain was not legally responsible for Hain4Labour.

"We identified the significance of a ‘members association' under the Act very early on, so it was no surprise that the case ended as it did," said John Gould. "Peter was very reluctant throughout to blame the late returns on people who had volunteered their services to support him.

"We were very surprised at the Commission's decision to invite a police investigation given the information provided to them and the fact that numerous other late returns by all parties were not treated in the same way. It is still hard to see why the police were asked to investigate. At the time it appeared that the Commission might have simply buckled under very intense media speculation and pressure."

"The police investigation was thorough and professional," said Jae Carwardine. "It was absolutely the right decision not to pursue charges in this case and we are pleased to see the Electoral Commission have confirmed they will now review the issue of the responsibility for reporting donations for regulated donees.''