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Prosecuting corporate offending – a new approach from the Serious Fraud Office

Overview

Deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) became part of the prosecutors' toolbox in 2014, allowing for settlement instead of bringing a case to trial. Recent statements from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) indicate an increasing willingness to seek DPAs.

The SFO has concluded two DPAs so far, and we expect more in the next few months and beyond. This change in emphasis in prosecuting corporate criminal offences, together with encouragement for organisations to self-report, should incentivise the SFO to focus on corporate offending. This will ease the SFO's investigatory burden, which we then anticipate will free up its resources to open (and close) more cases against companies.

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