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Deferred Prosecution Agreements: consultation on draft code of practice

27 June, 2013 | News Releases

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office and Director of Public Prosecutions today published a draft Code of Practice setting out their approach to the use of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs).

This new tool was introduced in the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which received Royal Assent in April this year.

A DPA involves a company reaching an agreement with a prosecutor where the company is charged with a criminal offence but proceedings are automatically suspended. The company agrees to a number of conditions, which may include payment of a financial penalty, payment of compensation, and co-operation with future prosecutions of individuals. If the conditions are not honoured, the prosecution may resume.

DPAs may be used for fraud, bribery and other economic crime. They apply to organisations, not individuals.

A DPA could be appropriate where the public interest is not best served by mounting a prosecution.  Entering into a DPA will be a transparent public event and the process will be supervised by a judge.

The Directors seek views on eight points covered in the draft Code, including the circumstances when a prosecutor should consider a DPA, the criteria to apply when making this decision, and on the disclosure approach envisaged.

Comments are welcome from interested individuals and organisations. The consultation closes on Friday 20 September 2013.

Notes to Editors

    1. Interested individuals and organisations can respond to this consultation by using this form (inactive as of the 20 September 2013) and emailing it to the DPA team at the Serious Fraud Office ([email protected]) or by post to:

DPA Team

Serious Fraud Office

2-4 Cockspur Street

London SW1Y 5BS

  1. Consultations are also being issued separately by the Sentencing Council and the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee on other aspects of DPA implementation and the sentencing of organisations for economic crimes.
  2. The Sentencing Council consultation can be accessed here and the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee consultation can be viewed at this link.
  3. The Government announced plans to introduce DPAs in October 2012 – click here to view news release. It is expected the tool will become available to prosecutors from February 2014.