News & what's on - Written by on Sunday, November 29, 2015 3:21 - 0 Comments

OPINION: First DPA a watershed moment in the history of UK corporate crime enforcement & significant moment for SFO

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Santa Claus is showing thumbs up.“A proposal to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) with Standard Bank Plc (now known as ICBC Standard Bank Plc), has already been approved in principle by Lord Justice Leveson.  On Monday, 30th November 2015, the SFO will apply for final approval of the DPA before the same judge at Southwark Crown Court, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Full details of the facts of the case and the terms of the agreement will be given in open court at the public hearing of the application to approve the DPA.  Should the judge approve the DPA, the SFO will publish it.

The hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London at 10AM (Court 3).”

Notified an SFO Press Release on Thursday last week.

Full details will be published on Monday in what is expected to be a busy courtroom. will be sending down a reporter…and we shall write an analysis of what we think the key takeaways are in the next few days.


We anticipate the basic principle to be that which the SFO has been pushing for some considerable time.  Namely, that if you want to get into the box for a DPA the bar is set high.  Put another way, don’t expect all corporate misconduct to be dealt with by DPA.

The reasons behind the award of the DPA in this instance will be extremely helpful in underscoring what the SFO have been saying for some time and setting a judicial ‘precedent’ for the principle.  As ever the devil with all these things is in the detail and we’ll unpick that when we see it.

But.  The big news is that from Monday the UK will have its first DPA.  This marks a watershed moment in the history of English criminal law enforcement.  There will plenty more to follow over the coming years.  Corporate Criminal law enforcement is well and truly with us and here to stay in the UK.

Companies should take note.

Criminal law can (and increasingly will) result in adverse consequences for them and their stakeholders.

The SFO, which pushed the agenda for DPA’s (and Richard Alderman’s efforts in this regard should not be overshadowed by other criticisms), should be credited.

Notwithstanding the recent reported U turn for a failure to prevent fraud type of offence, we wouldn’t write it off just yet.

Off the back of some pretty bad news stories the last couple of years for the SFO, 2015 is quietly turning out pretty well for the SFO.



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