Peters & Peters

A setback for the SFO on mutual legal assistance – Jasvinder Nakhwal and Nick Vamos discuss in The Law Society Gazette

In February the Supreme Court handed down judgment in R (on the application of KBR, Inc) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office, in which it unanimously reversed a 2018 High Court ruling on the territorial scope of section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. Section 2(3) empowers the SFO director to issue a notice requiring the production of documents relevant to SFO investigations under threat of criminal prosecution (a section 2 notice). The court held that section 2(3) does not empower the SFO to compel foreign companies to produce documents located outside the UK. The decision has been seen as a body blow to the SFO’s position as a global enforcement agency at a time when investigations almost always involve an international element. Coming on the heels of the UK’s exit from the European Union, the decision serves to further compound the challenges already facing the SFO in the conduct of cross-border investigations post-Brexit. Read more