Independent Review of Disclosure and Fraud Offences launched
An independent review into disclosure and fraud, led by Jonathan Fisher KC, has launched to make it quicker and easier to bring criminals to justice
An independent review into disclosure and fraud offences has been launched to speed up criminal investigations and prosecute more fraudsters.
The independent review will consider how the disclosure regime is working in the digital age and whether fraud law meets the challenges of modern offending, including whether the penalties are proportionate to the impact of the crime.
Jonathan Fisher KC has been appointed as Chair of the Review, drawing upon his considerable experience as a leading lawyer on financial crime.
The review will ensure that the criminal justice system keeps pace with the evolving nature of fraud and online crimes. Fraud and complex crimes generate masses of digital material, placing a strain on investigations and increasing the time it takes to bring cases to court. By addressing the volume and nature of material subject to disclosure and looking at international best practice, the review will make it quicker and easier to bring criminals to court, delivering swifter justice to victims.
Punishment for fraud offences will also be reviewed to assess whether the penalties reflect the severity of the crime and the devastating impact it has on lives and livelihoods. The need for a new fraud specific civil power will also be considered to further disrupt fraudsters.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
"Scammers are highly sophisticated, constantly finding ways to exploit victims and stay ahead of the law. We must not let them succeed.
"I’ve launched a review into disclosure and fraud offences to ensure that victims cases are dealt with promptly and fraudsters pay a heavy price for the financial and emotional turmoil they cause. I am grateful to Jonathan for undertaking this vital piece of work and look forward to his findings."
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said:
"It’s crucial that our legal system keeps pace with the evolving nature of crime.
"By reviewing the disclosure process to speed up investigations and making sure the penalties for fraud match the severity of its impact on victims, we’re sending a clear message to crooks that their crimes will not go unpunished."
The Attorney General, Victoria Prentis KC MP, said:
"A robust and fit-for-purpose disclosure regime is essential for an effective criminal justice system and maintaining public trust. Advances in modern technology have substantially increased digital materials and created significant challenges for prosecutors.
"It is absolutely right that we review current disclosure practices and the tools available to tackle the scourge of fraud. Jonathan Fisher KC has a wealth of experience in criminal law and economic crime, and we will carefully consider his recommendations on how best to improve current practices and deliver justice for all."
Chair of the review Jonathan Fisher KC said:
"Fraudulent activity is deeply corrosive. It undermines the economy, and as well as damaging the financial interests of its victims, it destroys individual trust and public confidence.
"I am delighted to have been asked to lead this important review into the challenges which the investigation and prosecution of fraud currently present."
The launch of the independent review into the investigation and prosecution of fraud marks the delivery of a key commitment in the Fraud Strategy. Published in May, the Fraud Strategy sets out a whole system response to tackling fraud in response to how the crime has evolved through modern technology.
Other pledges delivered include:
- A consultation to ban scam cold calls on financial products has been completed. The findings will be published in 2024.
- A consultation on banning SIM Farms which enable scammers to reach thousands of people at once has concluded. The Government is considering next steps and will publish a response to the consultation shortly.
- Over 340 new investigators are now part of the National Fraud Squad.
- A rapid review of mass texting services has concluded.
The Chair will report back with recommendations on how to reform the disclosure regime in summer 2024, and wider recommendations on fraud offences by spring 2025.