Almost three years ago the UK introduced deferred-prosecution agreements, a tool long used in US corporate criminal cases. However, in the UK, the judges have the final say on the terms of the agreement.
This power of the UK courts became apparent when the Serious Fraud Office entered into its second DPA in July, where terms of its agreement with an unnamed company were presented and then changed by the judge, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"At a theoretical level, having the judicial scrutiny has the hallmarks of transparency and independence", said White & Case partner Jonathan Pickworth. "It also makes the whole process unpredictable and fraught with danger for the corporate."