The divided opinion on deferred prosecution agreements
Following Government concerns and the growing demand to increase powers of prosecuting authorities tackling corporate crime, deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) were introduced on 24 February 2014, under Schedule 17 of the Crime and Courts Act 2010.
A DPA is a formal agreement reached between a prosecuting authority (Crown Prosecution Service and / or the Serious Fraud Office) and an organisation (SMEs and / or Corporates) where there has been wrongdoing for which it could be prosecuted.
Since the introduction of these provisions, there have been five DPAs initiated by the Serious Fraud Office, which have received a formal declaration from the court. These agreements have provoked divided opinion on whether they encourage corporate self-reporting and improve long-term compliance, or in fact allow corporates the opportunity to pay their way out of prosecution, evading the full force of the law.