28 Mar 2024

The Case for Expanding Deferred Prosecution Agreements

Nick Barnard writes for The Times on deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and negotiated justice for individuals in fraud and bribery investigations.

DPAs, which recently marked their tenth anniversary, are unavailable for individuals: even after a corporate resolution, defendants in fraud and bribery investigations must simply “wait it out at huge personal, professional and financial cost” for the charging decision and at least 18 months for any trial.

Beyond expanding DPAs to cover individuals, Nick suggests making better use of existing powers and procedures:

  • using the Attorney-General’s Guidelines on plea discussions re serious or complex fraud;
  • prosecutors offering immunities and sentencing credit in return for cooperation;
  • introducing a mandatory prosecutorial requirement to consider a negotiated outcome in specified fraud and bribery offences.

The article was published originally in The Times on the 21st March 2024.

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