Deferred Prosecution Agreements
If you believe that your company may be taken to court for fraud or similar offences, you may be eligible for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or DPA. This type of agreement was introduced under the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
What is a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?
The term “Deferred Prosecution Agreement” refers to a legal decision taken by the Crown Court that allows an organisation suspected of wrongdoing to commit to reparations. This action is pursued in place of formal prosecution.
These reparations may include compliance with certain orders, the payment of fines or damages or other specified activities. Should the company in question make the required reparations successfully and within the specified time frame, no further action will be brought.
While the option for Deferred Prosecution Agreements was first introduced in 2013, the first instance of its use was in February 2014. It requires judicial agreement and can only be used by a corporate body.
How Can DBT & Partners Help?
With over 30 years’ worth of experience within commercial and business litigation, DBT & Partners can assist your company as it navigates the judicial process.
Whether you’re looking for defence lawyers with a strong history of DPA cases, expert insight into fraud sentencing guidelines or simple advice to help improve your company’s adherence to legal requirements, we’ll be able to help you.
Not only can we assist you in the negotiation of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, but we will also advise you on how to meet the terms of that agreement – including the undertaking of any internal investigations and the revision of policies and procedures.
These approaches will help you to avoid any legal action being taken against you in future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which offences are eligible for DPA’s?
There are a variety of offences to which DPAs may be applicable, all of which are listed within the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
The most common include:
- Fraud and serious fraud
- Conspiracy to defraud
- False accounting
- Bribery and corruption
It’s important to note that not all offences are eligible for Deferred Prosecution Agreements, so it is important to consult the legislation in full before applying for this action.
How is a DPA approved?
Any Deferred Prosecution Agreement in the UK must be approved by the Crown Court. It must be applied for by the prosecution, and can only be passed if it is deemed to be within the interests of justice.
The Crown Court must rule that the terms of the DPA are within the public interest and that they are reasonable before the agreement can be confirmed.
If the application is approved, this will be declared in open court.
What are the potential penalties for Deferred Prosecution Agreements?
There are a variety of penalties that may be imposed as part of a DPA. No one Deferred Prosecution Agreement definition can apply to all cases, as the precise nature of each depends on the type and severity of offence each company is accused of.
In order to adhere to a DPA, your organisation may be required to:
- Implement new or revised policies or approaches to ensure that no transgressions of the same kind happen again
- Pay compensation to the victims of any crime that is ruled to have been committed
- Pay a fine to the court or any other official body
If your company is facing legal action, get in touch with the specialist Deferred Prosecution Agreement solicitors at DBT & Partners today. We will assist you throughout the process and ensure that your case reaches the best possible conclusion.
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