Alex Swan

Another bad day for the Serious Fraud Office – but what are the broader implications?

On 26 April the SFO’s prosecution of two former directors of Serco Geografix Ltd (“SGL”) collapsed. Unsurprisingly this case has re-ignited questions as to whether the SFO is fit for purpose, but it also shines a light – again – on the contrast between the SFO’s ability to secure lucrative Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) with corporate suspects and its inability to secure convictions of the individuals whose conduct underlies the DPA.

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R (KBR Inc) v SFO: A victory for common sense

In October 2020 the Supreme Court heard the appeal in R (KBR Inc) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office (see previous summary article).  The appeal focussed on whether the SFO could issue a notice under section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“the CJA 1987”) to a foreign company requiring it to produce documents held abroad (“the s2 Notice”).  The Supreme Court has now ruled that a SFO s2 Notice does not have extraterritorial effect in what many practitioners and commentators will welcome as a victory for common sense and respect for the comity of nations.  That is an entirely unsurprising result given the well-established position generally limiting to the UK the application of legislation emanating from the UK Parliament.

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