News & what's on - Written by on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 0:11 - 0 Comments

BREAKING: Deferred Prosecution Agreements could be a reality as early as next year

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The results of the governments recent consultation plans for Deferred Prosecution Agreements are expected imminently and even as early as later today.

The plans which would see companies agreeing a deal in respect of corporate wrongdoing have been contemplated in the UK for just over a year.  In an accelerated time frame to that originally anticipated the new law could be on the books as early as next spring.

It is not clear whether the plans are retroactive, but in theory at least this could mean that the first wave of corporates entering into DPA’s in the UK could be in the first half of next year.

The plans are widely seen as a positive move for the UK where UK law enforcement have long complained about the uneven playing field in a world where US law enforcement routinely uses Deferred Prosecution Agreements to resolve corporate wrongdoing.  Under US agreements corporates typically agree to fines and a type of probation which, if after, say a three year period the corporate has complied with its ‘probation’ conditions then see the company escape prosecution.

Opinion

The present legal system for dealing with corporate crime is unsophisticated.  Put another way the black letter law provides a binary choice of to prosecute, or not.  Attempts have been made to use Civil Recovery Orders under the Proceeds of Crime legislation to plug the gap but these have met with harsh judicial criticism.

DPA’s will provide a more sophisticated way of dealing with the problem, introducing a ‘third way’.  We welcome the plans.

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