Deferred Prosecution Agreements

The Government are introducing deferred prosecution agreement which will give companies an alternative to prosecution. This video discusses the implications of these agreements.


What I’m here to talk today about the deferred prosecution agreement.

There are no deferred prosecution agreement arrangements in this country at the moment. They are going to be introduced in the next parliament. I’m putting together a response to the Ministry of Justice on our thoughts on the consultations, if anyone is interested then by all means you’re very welcome to contribute because I certainly don’t have all the ideas by any means and I would like to see what other people have got to think about it.

This is an agreement reached between an offending company and, and I’ll use the American example for now, either their Department of Justice or the SEC, the Security and Exchange Commission in the US, to pay a fine over a particular period, and that’s often two to three years, in turn for a discontinuance of proceedings that are initiated but not then pursued at the court in the US.

That agreement will then come with conditions, perhaps changes of governance, perhaps changes of staff, perhaps removal of staff, perhaps reinstatement of staff, and then of course the fine. When you think that in 2011 the Department of Justice and the SEC together entered twenty nine none prosecution agreements and deferred prosecution agreements, there is a distinction, I’ll very quickly deal with those at some point.

The average fine in each of those deferred or non prosecution agreements was around $100 million dollars. These are big issues for companies, particularly when you think some of the agreements involve 150, 160, $200 million dollars. The SEC and the DOJ in America are collecting billions from these agreements, and of course the Ministry of Justice here want some of that action because they can see that some of the countries or some of the companies sorry in the US have associations here that would have allowed them, in other words us, to collect that money to impose the deferred prosecution agreements if those arrangements had been in place.

So what really is the main problem with the arrangements that we’ve got at the minute, there are very, very few corporate prosecutions as you know, the problem is finding the directing mind, the problem is finding the directing will within the company to peruse individuals. Regulatory offences commonly result in large fines, but you don’t tend to see individuals prosecuted.

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