Peters & Peters

SFO—forgetting its purpose? Neil Swift in New Law Journal

In this article for New Law Journal, Neil Swift reports on the successes and shortcomings of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and asks whether the pursuit of corporate scalps has undermined its original mission.


In 1986, the Roskill Report recommended that the government set up a new unified organisation responsible for the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious fraud cases. This led to the creation of the SFO a short time later.


The organisation had a ‘cradle to grave’ approach and was given new powers, designed to remedy perceived shortcomings in the investigations and prosecutions of fraud cases.


However, it has strayed from its initial mission statement in at least two respects: investigation and prosecution.


The article discusses developments in the law; SFO successes and shortcomings; the extension of the ‘failure to prevent’; and asks whether it is time for the SFO to reassess its priorities.


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