The Bribery Act and DPAs: Transparency is the Key

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The debate now ongoing in the UK about whether Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA) should be a tool available to prosecutors in the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Crown Prosecutors is an important issue that should be well reasoned and thoroughly vetted. However, from where I sit in the US, I believe that the ability to enter into a DPA is a powerful tool that advances the interests of prosecutors, the judiciary and the public. Based on the reasons I will set out below, I believe that the UK should incorporate such a tool into those mechanisms available to the SFO and Crown Prosecutors to resolve cases brought under the Bribery Act.

The key issues that law makers in the UK must resolve is how to incorporate the concept of a DPA into a system which only allows prosecutors the option of bringing criminal charges or declining to do so coupled with a judiciary system that has unfettered discretion to accept or reject any settlement agreement brought before it. In an article entitled “The US Model for Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements” Mike Volkov phrases the question as “For UK policy makers, the balance between judicial review and prosecutorial discretion is one which has to be resolved before any new policy can be enacted.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Thomas Fox, Advanced Compliance Solutions | Attorney Advertising

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