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Walking the tightrope of compliance

The Law Society has struck back on the SFO’s section 2 interviews, but to what effect, wonders Maia Cohen-Lask

8 May 2017

On 6 June 2016, the Serious Fraud Office published new guidance on the conduct of interviews under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. This was a clear attempt to limit the role of the interviewee’s lawyer in the interview to little more than a note taker and source of ‘pastoral support’. In response, defence lawyers universally expressed serious unease at the constraints being placed on their ability to effectively represent their clients.

That criticism was forthcoming from the community of defence practitioners is unsurprising. What is perhaps more significant is that the Law Society has decided to intervene in this debate. On 4 May 2017 the society published a practice note on representing clients at section 2 interviews. In doi...

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