The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) is an agreement between an organisation and a designated prosecutor to enable the latter to defer a prosecution by staying an indictment on specific terms (see Practice Note: Terms and content of a DPA).
It encompasses a power given to the court to approve the terms that have been negotiated between the company and the prosecutor as part of the DPA process (see Practice Note: DPA process).
No proceedings in relation to the matters covered by the DPA may be instituted against the organisation while the DPA remains in force.
A DPA therefore allows a company to continue without the threat of a lengthy criminal investigation and a costly prosecution hanging over it. Thereafter, once it expires, the proceedings will be discontinued (see Practice Note: Discontinuance of a DPA).
The company's employees, shareholders and other stakeholders can therefore take comfort from the agreement that the organisation will not be prosecuted in relation to specific events. However, this will be subject to strict terms or conditions, the breach of which may result in the termination of the agreement and re-instigation of the criminal proceedings (see Practice Note: Breach of a DPA).
The power to enter into a DPA came into force in England and Wales on 24 February 2014, when
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