The future of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office – Jonathan Flynn and Greta Barkle write for Compliance Matters

The future of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office – Jonathan Flynn and Greta Barkle write for Compliance Matters

BCL associates Jonathan Flynn and Greta Barkle’s article ‘The future of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office‘ has been published by Compliance Matters.

Here’s an extract from the article:

The badly-performing Serious Fraud Office requires a makeover, but instead is moving in the direction of reform at a leisurely pace. Nevertheless, its demise seems unlikely and it is at least planning to improve training, re-allocate resources and implement digital strategies.

When a criminal lawyer takes a case, his client always asks him how long he thinks the investigation or prosecution is going to take. Because the English criminal justice system is inefficient and crippled by budget cuts, the answer is nearly always measured in years.

Nowhere has the issue of delay been more acute than in cases investigated and prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). When Lisa Osofsky became the director of that body in 2018, people optimistically predicted that “pace and proactivity” would become the order of the day. Despite the director’s best efforts, however, the figures tell their own truth. In the last year for which statistics exist (ending in March 2019), the SFO concluded 10 cases. The majority were for criminal conduct that was said to have occurred between 2010 and 2013, with the most recent occurrance being 2015. Of the cases that proceeded to trial, the headlines consisted of high-profile acquittals – Tesco (defendants acquitted in December 2018 for conduct reported in 2014); after acquittal – Güralp (defendants acquitted in December 2019 for conduct between 2002 and 2015); after acquittal – Barclays (defendants acquitted in February 2020 for conduct in 2008).

This article was originally published by Compliance Matters on 28th July 2020. You can read the full version on their website or via pdf here.

Greta Barkle is a New Zealand qualified lawyer specialising in business crime, regulatory investigations, extradition and cybercrime. Prior to joining BCL Solicitors LLP, Greta worked on a range of complex disputes, including claims against the New Zealand Police and Government Communications Security Bureau in relation to dawn raids and unlawful surveillance of communications. Greta also assisted counsel in New Zealand’s leading white collar crime and extradition case and is an experienced criminal and regulatory prosecutor.

Jonathan Flynn is an employed barrister at BCL specialising in criminal and regulatory law. He has particular expertise in fraud, bribery and corruption, restraint and confiscation proceedings, and general crime. Jonathan has acted in a number of high-profile, complex and multi-jurisdictional cases, including investigations/prosecutions by the SFO, FCA, HMRC, and NCA.