Kangs Solicitors are regularly instructed by companies and individuals subject to investigation or prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’).
Frances Murray of Kangs Solicitors explains the nature of such interviews.
The Interview Process | Kangs Financial Fraud Advisory Team
As part of an investigation by the SFO, it will, invariably, invite companies and individuals, such as directors, to attend for interview.
These interviews are governed by Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 which provides that anyone interviewed under this section is a potential witness.
Access to A Lawyer | Kangs Complex Fraud Team
As the interview is not under caution it does not afford the right to independent legal advice and is different in that:
- an interviewee may seek advice from a lawyer of choice, in respect of the interview, before and /or after it is carried out.
- an interviewee may request the presence of a named lawyer in advance of the interview in accordance with SFO guidance on the presence of lawyers in Section 2 interviews.
- the general rule is that only one person involved in the process of providing legal advice or assistance to the interviewee will be allowed to be present in the interview.
- If the SFO believe a particular lawyer will assist the purpose of the interview and, or investigation, or will provide assistance to the interviewee by way of legal advice they will require that lawyer to serve the following information:
- the name of the lawyer,
- the reasons why their presence in the interview will assist the purpose of the interview / and or investigation, or that they will provide essential assistance by way of legal advice
The lawyer nominated will be required to sign a number of undertakings with the SFO to the effect that:
- the lawyer’s firm does not represent any individual or legal person who is a suspect in the investigation
- all pre interview disclosure documents and documents provided during the interview (‘relevant documents’) retained by the firm will be kept confidential to the firm and the Section 2 interviewee
- no relevant documents will be provided to or discussed with anyone other than the interviewee, without the written authority of the SFO
- relevant documents will not be copied
- all relevant documents will be kept secure in the firm’s offices at all times until they are returned to the SFO
- all relevant documents will be returned to the SFO
- apart from any note taken of the Section 2 interview, the firm will not transcribe or otherwise record the interview
- the firm will not disclose the content of the interview to, or discuss it with, anyone other than the Section 2 interviewee, without the written authority of the SFO.
The firm is bound by these undertakings until the conclusion of the SFO investigation or prosecution and must be upheld in accordance with the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
Ultimately, it is the duty of the SFO interviewer to ensure the parameters of the lawyer’s function are observed. In the event there is ay perceived infraction, or obstruction, the lawyer may be excluded from the interview.
The interviewee may be cautioned by the SFO and, at that time, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act applies and the right to free and independent legal advice becomes available.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Serious Fraud National Interview Team
Kangs Solicitors frequently defend both companies and individuals subjected to an SFO investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Cases of this nature require a legal team with specialist knowledge and extensive experience as they invariably involve complex legal issues.
If you are being investigated by the SFO or any other authority we are able to assist with the interview process, pre charge investigation and the post charge court proceedings.
Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
If you are an individual or a company, we are here to assist you manage your contact with the prosecuting authority and advise you on any criminal proceedings involving bribery & corruption, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
Our team of solicitors has a proven track record of assisting many individual and businesses achieve the right result following these criminal proceedings.
Our expert team of Solicitors can be contacted through the following: