Deferred Prosecution Agreements to be powerful weapon in fighting white collar crime in UK – Pinsent Masons

29 Oct 2012 | 10:01 am | 1 min. read

• An incentive for corporates to clear skeletons out of the closet The UK Government’s proposals for US-style Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) announced today should provide a powerful weapon in the fight against white collar crime, says Pinsent Masons, the international law firm.

DPAs act as a plea bargain, and will allow companies to publicly admit past wrong-doing while paying penalties, undertaking internal reforms, or agreeing to external monitoring, in exchange for immunity from prosecution (unless they breach the terms of the DPA).

Barry Vitou, Partner and white collar crime expert at Pinsent Masons comments: “DPAs offer a better way of dealing with corporate wrongdoing and for businesses to resolve their criminal exposure. The present choice, either to prosecute, or not, is deeply unsophisticated.”

“The potential upside for ethical corporations is clear - hand over the bad apples themselves and corporates could avoid multi-million pound fines and public trials – with all the extremely damaging publicity that brings with it.”

“If DPAs can be implemented properly then the SFO could benefit from a dividend as businesses clear the skeletons out of the closet and come forward about past crimes that they have uncovered.”

Barry Vitou continues: “The SFO is under pressure to perform but to do that it needs the tools to do the job properly – DPAs should go a long way to help.”

“DPAs also have the advantage of penalising companies, enabling swifter restitution and rehabilitation, and reducing the risks to innocent directors, employees, and stakeholders.”

The Ministry of Justice hopes that DPAs will incentivise self-reporting for two reasons:

  • The ministry believes they could prevent ‘forum shopping’ amongst guilty corporates. DPAs would remove the uncertainty companies face in the UK legal system after they have pleaded guilty to charges – judges can currently ignore plea deals made with prosecutors. Instead, some suggest that corporate defendants agree to a deferred prosecution deal in the US to avoid prosecution in the UK under double-jeopardy rules. This denies UK prosecutors the chance to secure restitution, compensation, or convictions.
  • DPAs allow corporations to be punished for wrongdoing without risking the mandatory debarment from government contracts that prosecution can bring; most bribery offences result in mandatory debarment.

Latest press releases

Show me all press releases

Pinsent Masons launches online tool to spot future home-working related litigation for financial services firms

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has launched a new working-from home audit tool to help financial services organisations understand the hidden litigation and regulatory risks associated with staff increasingly working from home on a more permanent basis.

Pinsent Masons advises Seraphine Group PLC on its £150m main market IPO

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons is advising Seraphine Group plc, an international digitally-led maternity and nursing wear, on its IPO and premium listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

Pinsent Masons agrees MOU with Nepal International ADR Center

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nepal International ADR Center (NIAC), commencing an important collaborative relationship seeking to enhance NIAC’s international arbitration capabilities.

People who viewed this press release also viewed

Show me all press releases

Pinsent Masons advises GNA Biosolutions GmbH on Covid-19 rapid PCR test

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons advised GNA Biosolutions GmbH on IP and commercial aspects of its rapid PCR Covid-19 test.

Pinsent Masons advises Unbound on financing in fitness start-up VAHA

Pinsent Masons has advised Unbound on its investment in etone Motion Analysis GmbH (VAHA), a manufacturer of smart digital mirrors.

Pinsent Masons advises Bodymed AG on its sale to Nestle Health Science.

The multinational law firm Pinsent Masons advises the holding company of the founder Dr Hardy Walle on the sale of all shares of Bodymed AG to Nestlé Health Science.

For all media enquiries, including arranging an interview with one of our spokespeople, please contact the press office on

+44 (0)20 7418 8199 or 

Location contacts