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Codes and protocols

In this section are documents which govern the SFO’s work and aspects of its relationship with certain other bodies, notably our superintending department, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Lawyers in Section 2 interviews

Update: 6 June 2016

On 6 June 2016 the SFO adopted new internal guidance on the process for inviting and handling requests for individuals interviewed under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 to be accompanied by a lawyer. The guidance is here. Guidance for individuals attending Section 2 interviews is here and for lawyers, here.

Protocol between the Attorney General and the prosecuting departments

(external website)

This protocol defines the relationship between the Attorney General and prosecutors in England and Wales, including the SFO. Date: 2009   Size: 85.7KB [PDF]  

Code for Crown Prosecutors

(external website)

The Code for Crown Prosecutors sets out the two stage test which must be met before any prosecution is undertaken. The first stage requires there to be sufficient evidence for the prosecutor to consider that there is a “realistic prospect of conviction”. The second stage requires a weighing of public interest factors for and against undertaking a prosecution. The Code is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under S6 of the Prosecution of the Offences Act and is used by all SFO prosecutors

Date: Revised January 2013

Owner: Crown Prosecution Service

Size: 92 KB [PDF]  

Prosecutors’ pledge

Date: 9 December 2005

Size: 52 KB [PDF]  

Guidance on corporate prosecution

This is joint guidance of the SFO, CPS and Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (now part of the CPS) covering the prosecution of corporate bodies for offences other than corporate manslaughter.

Date: late 2009/early 2010

Size: 159 KB [PDF]  

Joint Prosecution Guidance on the Bribery Act 2010

This is joint guidance of the SFO and CPS, issued in advance of the implementation of the Act on 1 July 2011.

Date: 30 March 2011

Size: 326 KB [PDF]  

Attorney General’s guidance on plea discussions

The guidelines set out a formal process for a prosecutor to discuss allegations of serious or complex fraud and the acceptance of pleas.

Date: 18 March 2009

Size: 64 KB [PDF]  

Attorney General’s guidance on Asset Recovery Powers under 2A of the POCA 2002

(external website)

This covers any case where proceeds of crime have been identified but it is not possible or practical to secure a conviction, or a conviction has been secured but no confiscation order made. Relevant authorities should consider using the non-conviction-based powers available under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Date: 29 November 2012

Memoranda of Understanding

The SFO works with a range of other law enforcement bodies, regulators and other agencies. Some of these relationships are governed by formal Memoranda of Understanding – agreements on co-operation, sharing expertise and exchanging information. Not all of them are included here, so as not to risk compromising our operations or those of our partners.

Memorandum of Understanding on Tackling Foreign Bribery

Signatories: City of London Police, Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service , Crown Prosecution Service, Financial Conduct Authority, Ministry of Defence Police, National Crime Agency, Serious Fraud Office

Date: May 2014

Size: 218 KB [PDF]  

Memorandum of Understanding between the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service and the Serious Fraud Office

Date: May 2014

Size: 968 KB [PDF]  

Memorandum of Understanding between the Competitions and Markets Authority and the Serious Fraud Office

(external website)

Date: April 2014

Size: 282 KB [PDF]  

Memorandum of Understanding between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Serious Fraud Office

Date: July 2016 

Size: 246 KB [PDF]  

Memorandum of Understanding between the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority and the Serious Fraud Office

(external website)

Date: April 2011

Size: 64 KB [PDF]