Deferred prosecution agreements — a new tool for the UK

In the UK, significant changes are imminent as the much anticipated deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) takes a step closer to implementation with the release of a draft code of practice. DPAs offer a radical departure from the UK’s traditional approach to corporate criminality and, in conjunction with the Bribery Act, represent a significant change in the UK’s regulatory landscape.

DPAs were introduced to UK jurisprudence to bring UK law more in alignment with US law and to assist in multi-jurisdictional cases involving economic crime — money laundering, fraud and bribery, for example. DPAs are expected to be useful tools for prosecutors seeking to enforce the UK Bribery Act. DPAs are likely to take effect from February 2014 and will be available to ‘designated prosecutors’ in the UK — currently the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

DPAs were developed in response to the heavily criticised ‘civil settlements’ in earlier high-profile cases and are structured to receive far more judicial attention prior to approval…

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