+44 (0)20 7353 6000
17 Dec 2015

Jessica Parker comments on calls for review of corporate liability in Global Investigations Review

The SFO’s success in two foreign bribery cases involving UK companies means the government should reconsider its decision to abandon a corporate offence of failure to prevent economic crime, lawyers and politicians say.

Calls for change to the UK’s corporate criminal liability laws come after the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to drop a phonehacking case against News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of News UK, which is in turn a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s global media company, News Corp.

In justification of this decision, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said on 11 December: “The present state of the law means it is especially difficult to establish criminal liability against companies with complex or diffuse management structures.” However, some lawyers questioned whether the two recently concluded SFO Section 7 cases necessarily strengthen the argument for a reconsideration of the offence.

Jessica Parker at Corker Binning in London told GIR that the SFO’s two recent corporate bribery cases are insufficient to merit a policy change.

“There needs to be more analysis of how well Section 7 works,” she said. “Two cases, a guilty plea and a DPA, are simply not sufficient to determine this.”

Read the full article in Global Investigations Review here.