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Serious Fraud Office

Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2011

2. What the policy of the Serious Fraud Office is on seeking costs from those convicted as a result of a prosecution brought by the office. (42452)

I am extremely pleased about the change of policy in the case of the British Aerospace contract in Tanzania, for which costs were sought and paid. Will the Attorney-General make sure that costs are always sought where there is a conviction? At a time of very tight public expenditure, it is important for the SFO to get income from wherever it can in order to investigate and prosecute such cases.

I entirely agree that costs should normally be sought. Of course there may be instances where that is simply not appropriate, such as where the defendant is destitute or penniless and it is clear that a cost order will serve no purposeā€”and, indeed, a court is unlikely to make one. Subject to that, however, it is the normal policy that where a conviction is secured, costs are sought.