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Deferred prosecutions could benefit UK business

Specific safeguards in the Crime and Courts Act should ensure that UK rules on deferred prosecution agreements avoid the mistakes made in the US, say Aman Uppal and Henry Campbell-Smith

12 July 2013

With the Crime and Courts ?Act receiving Royal assent on April 25 2013, deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) are now an official part of UK legislation. Once the code on the use of DPAs is issued (likely sometime in 2014) DPAs will become an active feature of white collar criminal enforcement in the UK. We look at how DPAs are likely to affect British businesses and the UK market place, concluding that with the necessary safeguards in place, the adoption of DPAs into UK law could be a good thing for all concerned.

DPAs have long been a part of the legal system in the US, originating as an emergency alternative to prosecution during the 1930s prohibition era when the courts were flooded with cases involving minor infringements. Essentially DPAs are agreements that in return for non-prosecution, the party at fault will agree to remedial conditions and often the imposition of a significant fine.

DPAs in the US today are over-whelmingly used in relation to the largest ...

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