SFO publish new operational guidance for those attending, advising or conducting an interview under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (CJA 1987).

Jul 12, 2016

On 6 June 2016 the SFO published new operational guidance for those attending, advising or conducting an interview under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (CJA 1987).

In 2015 the previously stagnant approach taken in section 2 interviews evolved when the Divisional Court in R (Lord & others) v SFO [2015] EWHC 865 (Admin) endorsed the SFO’s recent decision to exclude a lawyer from being present in an interview where they deemed their presence would prejudice the investigation as they acted for the corporate suspect as well as a number of witnesses.

Guidance previously issued by the SFO only allowed for the exclusion of a lawyer where their presence could prejudice the investigation or would cause delay, however the new guidance goes far beyond the previous criteria. Despite being issued under the facade of guidance and with no statutory founding, the SFO set out a list of mandatory requirements which a lawyer must comply with in order to be present at an interview.

The new guidance includes the following provisions:

It is evident that this guidance raises numerous difficulties for the lawyer and it will be for the individual lawyer to make representations to the SFO that certain aspects of this guidance should not be imposed. However it is too early to know whether the SFO are going to adopt a pragmatic and flexible approach with their implementation and whether they will be looking at these issues on a case by case basis.

Amy.Shaffron@byrneandpartners.com
020 7842 1632

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Amy

Amy is a criminal litigator with experience in serious and complex general crime and white collar crime. She has worked on a range of cases prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service , SFO, Revenue and Customs, and Trading Standards. She has defended investigations and prosecutions for large scale drug offences, money laundering, sexual offences, serious violence and murder. She is also experienced in confiscation proceedings.

Amy is a solicitor advocate (Higher Courts Criminal) and represents clients at the police station, Magistrates and Crown Court.