Alun Milford, General Counsel at SFO, has spoken on the Bribery Act and SFO's stance. He used the speech to reinforce several key points:

  • the Bribery Act is not under review, and it was never the plan to review it.  The plan was only ever to check whether the adequate procedures guidance was doing its job properly;
  • SFO's stance towards prosecutions has not changed. David Green's statements last year merely reiterated that SFO would prosecute where (assuming there is enough evidence) it is in the public interest to do so.  The Prosecutors' Guidance lists factors tending for, or against, prosecution;
  • in response to concerns that SFO's statement that self-reporting would not guarantee no prosecution, he reminded firms that SFO would view each case on its merits and that its guidance states that a genuine and proactive approach to self-reporting may weigh against prosecution. He noted that SFO does not rely on self-reporting to get information and that much of its information comes from whistleblowers;
  • SFO will never use lack of resource as a reason not to prosecute; and
  • he expects to have the power to agree Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) in February 2014 and that the prosecutors will have finalised and published their code of conduct on DPAs by January.

(Source: SFO Speaks on Bribery Act)