Deferred Prosecution Agreements Guidance Published

New Code Of Practice For Prosecutors

18.03.2014

A joint code of practice on the deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) has been published by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Brought into force in February, the concept of a DPA related to an agreement which allows prosecution to be suspended for a defined period providing the organisation meets specified conditions.

It will apply to organisations involved in cases of economic crime and the code for prosecutors has been published following an extensive consultation exercise.

David Green CB QC, director of the SFO, said that the introduction of the DPA would avoid the “collateral damage” which can be caused to blameless employees or shareholders when a company is convicted of a criminal offence.

He added: “The most important features of the DPA regime outlined in the code are judicial oversight, and unequivocal cooperation from the corporate. Prosecution remains the preferred option for corporate criminality.”

Alison Saunders, director of Public Prosecutions, added that the guidelines provided the “approach to this new legislative function in an open and transparent way”.