Corporate co-operation guidance for organisations seeking a DPA
Corporate co-operation guidance for organisations seeking a DPA

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Corporate co-operation guidance for organisations seeking a DPA
  • What is corporate co-operation?
  • Conduct that is inconsistent with genuine co-operation
  • SFO indicators of good practice for securing a DPA
  • Preserving evidentially sound material
  • Facilitating disclosure
  • Witness handling
  • Assisting the SFO’s investigation
  • Providing intelligence
  • Corporate co-operation when claiming privilege
  • More...

Co-operation by a corporate entity is key to obtaining a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) as both the judgments approving DPAs entered into to date and speeches given by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in respect of DPAs demonstrate. For more information, see Practice Notes: DPAs in practice and The SFO's approach to Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs).

In August 2019, the SFO updated its operational handbook with a chapter on 'Corporate Co-operation Guidance' (guidance), see: LNB News 07/08/2019 48. The guidance was expressly intended to assist organisations in understanding what will be expected of them in order for their work to count as co-operation for the purposes of a DPA.

In particular, the guidance:

  1. clarifies the measures that the SFO expects from a company when it seeks to self-report suspected wrongdoing and be considered eligible for co-operation credit

  2. contains a non-exhaustive list of conduct indicating co-operative practices

  3. sets out conduct which the SFO considers to be inconsistent with ‘genuine co-operation’

It is important to note that co-operation is just one of the factors which the SFO and court will take into account when deciding whether to, respectively, offer and approve a DPA. For this reason, the guidance contains a warning that even full and robust co-operation will not guarantee a negotiated resolution.

For corporates involved in multi-jurisdictional investigations involving US authorities, due regard ought also to be

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