At the end of April this year, the Serious Fraud Office’s prosecution of two former Serco executives dramatically collapsed after it emerged the agency had made mistakes when disclosing documents that jeopardised the trial.

In February 2014, deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) were introduced in England and Wales under section 45 and schedule 17 to the Crime and Courts Act 2013. They were designed as a tool to enable the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to reach agreements with corporate organisations to defer their prosecution for a criminal offence, in exchange for certain conditions being met.

Efficient justice

The rationale underpinning the DPA regime, as s...

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