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R (AL) v Serious Fraud Office is the first legal challenge involving a Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

It concerns the extent to which the Serious Fraud Office, in fulfilling its disclosure obligations towards a defendant in criminal proceedings, is under a duty to obtain documents from a company with which it had concluded a DPA, where that company was required to afford total cooperation to the SFO under the DPA but had refused to provide the documents, asserting legal privilege. The Claimant sought judicial review of the SFO’s decision not to pursue the company for breach of the duty of cooperation under the DPA for its refusal to hand over the documents. The Divisional Court (Holroyde LJ and Green J) held that the High Court was not the appropriate forum in which to resolve this kind of dispute about disclosure, but also expressed serious reservations about the SFO’s position, holding that – if the High Court had been the proper forum – it would have quashed the SFO’s decision.

Click here for a copy of the full judgment. 

Catherine Callaghan QC acted for the Third Interested Party (in support of the Claimant’s case).

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