Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 45: The traditional criminal justice system: its efficacy in dealing with financial and economically motivated crime
By the traditional criminal justice system the following is adopted as a simple description: the criminal justice system in England and Wales at the day of writing, in its substantive, procedural and evidential components. By financial and economically motivated crime, it is presumed that the crimes go beyond simple theft and robbery and simple instances of deception employed to dishonestly appropriate property or services, for example, passing a dud cheque. If efficacy is measured by its deterrent effect then the system plainly fails, given the extent to which fraud of some kind is encountered in the United Kingdom’s economy. If efficacy is measured by the system’s ability to deliver swift, timely justice to the victim, again it is failing, as will be seen below. There are several reasons why the system cannot deliver the product with which it would satisfy society. To identify and explain the problems this chapter is divided into two parts: Part One, a simplified history of the common law as it has developed to deal with fraud; Part Two, the way ahead, a review of what may be done to improve the system. Unless the wrongdoer employs a simple and direct misappropriation of property, he will need to employ deception of some kind upon the victim. Deception practised to dishonestly appropriate economic assets from the victim is commonly characterised as “fraud”, a word without the need of a precise definition.
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