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Consultations announced to shape UK plea bargains for businesses

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United Kingdom

Yesterday saw the launch of three consultations that will underpin the UK's Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) system.

Yesterday saw the launch of three consultations that will underpin the UK's Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) system.

Following Royal Assent for The Crime and Courts Act 2013 on 25 April 2013, DPAs are set to be introduced from February 2014. DPAs will act as a form of plea bargain for companies, allowing them to escape prosecution for corruption, fraud and other financial offences, if wrongdoing is admitted, corrective action is taken, and a penalty is paid.

To prepare for implementation, guidance is being developed. The following materials are being made available for consultation: 

  • The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is consulting on a draft Code of Practice on DPAs. The Code has been developed by the SFO in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service.
  • The Criminal Procedure Rule Committee is consulting on changes to the criminal procedure rules setting out the process for applications for DPAs.
  • The Sentencing Council is consulting on draft guidelines for sentencing fraud, bribery and money laundering offences, which include an approach to sentencing corporate offenders convicted in a criminal court, and which are likely to become the relevant guide for corporate offences resolved through DPAs.
We will be responding to these consultations, having canvassed your views, with the aim of ensuring that the guidance underpinning the DPA system is developed in a way which preserves and supports your business interests.

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