Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 46: The management of complex fraud cases
Ever since Lord Roskill published his Fraud Trials Committee report in 1986 there has been a lively debate about the best methods of managing the investigation, prosecution and trial of complex fraud cases. The Criminal Justice Act 1987 adopted some of the recommendations of the Roskill report, including the setting up, in 1988, of the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) which could both investigate and prosecute. It was given a range of powers distinct from other law enforcement, including assertive investigatory tools, transfer provisions and preparatory hearings. Other recommendations, principally a Fraud Trials Tribunal to try complex fraud cases in place of a jury, were put on hold. The significance of the joint investigation and prosecution powers granted to the SFO must be seen in the context of the structure adopted in setting up the Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’) two years previously, the cornerstone of which was a strict separation of powers between police and prosecutor. Other fraud prosecutors, notably the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) and the Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’), also have investigation and prosecution powers, while the fraud prosecutions conducted by the Central Fraud Group in the CPS maintain the separation of powers which underscores the formation of the CPS. The advantages and disadvantages of the respective systems have given rise to some comment from time to time, but it is fair to say that the differences have not created significant legal problems over the years.
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