UK dismayed by courts' record on fraud

Confidence in the ability of courts to deal with company fraud is lower in the UK than anywhere else in the developed world, according to a survey by accountancy firm Ernst & Young.

The survey sought the views of senior executives in 11 countries. A large number of respondents supported the idea of special courts to try complex fraud cases.

This reflects concern that major City trials have failed because of the inability of juries to grasp the intricacies of high finance.

Three quarters of those questioned believed business people and professionals would be better qualified to sit in judgment in cases of white collar fraud.

A reason cited by respondents for the lack of understanding by courts was that defence lawyers tend to over-complicate issues to gain an advantage. Over a third believed that simplified laws would benefit the process.

Whereas only one in four respondents in the UK believed the courts understood the complexity of major fraud cases, 94 per cent in Hong Kong had confidence in their judicial system.