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The reality of DPAs

The courts are taking an increasingly broad approach to satisfy the interests of justice criteria for deferred prosecution agreements, writes Lisa McKinnon-Lower

25 April 2017

While they were historically a feature only of the US criminal justice system, schedule 17 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 introduced deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) into the UK legal system as a mechanism to deal with corporate liability.

The principle reason was the difficulty in prosecuting these types of cases, coupled with the length of time the investigation and prosecution would take and therefore the costs involved. It was also hoped that the introduction of DPAs might encourage cooperation between organisations and authorities by incentivising them to self-disclose wrongdoing and lead to swifter outcomes, including restitution for the victims.

Since the Act came into force, four DPAs have been approved by the court, including one agreed recently between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Tesco (after this article was written). It is fair to say that the fact...

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