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New SFO guidance on lawyers in s2 interviews

On 6 June 2016, the Serious Fraud Office issued updated guidance on the conduct of interviews undertaken pursuant to section 2 Criminal Justice Act 1987. The guidance would appear to attempt to restrict both the scope of representative and the extent of legal advice. It will also require lawyers to give non-disclosure undertakings in advance of SFO acceptance. A lawyer who is acting, or has acted for a subject of this investigation, will not be able to assist prospective witnesses as part of the same investigation. He or she will be required to undertake that he/she has not acted in that capacity and to keep disclosed information and documents confidential without prior consent from the SFO. It will be at the discretion of the SFO as to whether to permit a particular (or any) representative or not. The guidance appears to suggest that the role of the lawyer giving 'legal advice' or 'pastoral support' to a particular witness is limited to determining whether disclosure of information or documents is subject to legal professional privilege but not relevance or confidentiality. The guidance can be found [here].

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