The guidance states that an interviewee's lawyer will be allowed to attend the interview if the case controller believes it likely they will assist the purpose of the interview and/or investigation, or that they will provide essential assistance to the interviewee by way of legal advice or pastoral support.
The SFO's sensible new approach, which allows a second lawyer to attend for the purposes of taking notes, is to be welcomed and will provide several benefits to witnesses and suspects interviewed by the SFO.
- The interviewee's primary legal adviser will be relieved of the burden of taking notes and simultaneously advising their client. Interviews under Section 2 must be conducted with great care to ensure that they are carried out fairly. The updated guidance can only add to the fairness of the process.
- The interviewee's legal team will have a detailed record of the interview immediately and will no longer have to wait for the SFO to release its transcript of the interview.
- The interviewee's legal team will now have the opportunity to check the SFO's transcript against more detailed notes.
The SFO's revised guidance can be found at:
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