Legal Business

‘A step backwards’: Home Secretary weighs in on SFO’s future with proposal to abolish

When Legal Business queried in September whether the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was finally turning a corner after a year of embarrassing lows – including misplacing investigation documents and the chaotic collapse of the Victor Dahdaleh trial – the agency appeared to still be mired in controversy and questions over its future. Last month, the Home Secretary Theresa May appeared to provide an answer, as it was revealed she was considering abolishing the SFO and rolling it into the National Crime Agency (NCA), a move that some consider will ultimately dilute the attempts by the body to project a tougher image.

‘It’s not a good idea,’ said Stephenson Harwood commercial litigation partner Tony Woodcock. ‘The focus has got to be on serious and complex fraud, and properly resourcing that. I fear putting it into a far bigger organisation with a number of different responsibilities could dilute that, both as a matter of perception and as a matter of resourcing.’