News & what's on - Written by on Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:39 - 0 Comments

Deferred Prosecution Agreements: Solicitor General confirms legislation to be tabled before Parliament

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On Wednesday in the House of Commons the UK Solicitor General Edward Garnier confirmed that legislation to enable Deferred Prosecution Agreements is on the way, he said:

“…later in the current Parliament, I [will] introduce deferred prosecution agreements to the criminal justice armoury. Such agreements will deal with penalty payments, but also, where appropriate, with the payment of compensation, and the payments will be made as a result of court orders.”

The FT reports that a written consultation will take place in May with legislation appearing in the Autumn at the earliest.

There has already been an informal consultation among practitioners and other interested parties.  We ran the first consultation in our offices with the Solicitor General and the SFO Director in the autumn of last year.

We reported on that meeting here. The various posts we have published on the issue (including various guest posts from leading colleagues on both sides of the pond) can be found here we have tagged them all DPA consultation.

If you would also like to contribute to the debate then let us know.

We know that the Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC, MP, and the present Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Richard Alderman, are firmly in favour of Deferred Prosecution Agreements.

Sources tell us that the Solicitor General has been working hard in relation to promoting the proposals.  Reference to introducing legislation later in this Parliament indicate that the principle has government backing.

Opinion

We strongly endorse the proposal in principle for UK Deferred Prosecution Agreements.  The US has them and so should we.  The present UK system creates an uneven playing field where businesses can avoid the equivalent of a corporate death sentence, debarment, in the US but not the UK because we do not have the possibility of DPA’s.  The present set up leads to enforcement arbitrage which makes no sense.

 

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