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Some of her recommendations can be accepted or are already in hand; for example, the Crown Prosecution Service has now adopted the practice of speaking to

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witnesses in limited circumstances to clarify or assess the reliability of their evidence. The Government intend to extend means testing for legal aid to the Crown Court and agree that legal aid payments should be for outcomes not time spent.

Not all of Ms de Grazia’s recommendations can be accepted. In particular, the prosecutors do not share Ms de Grazia’s conclusion that the way to address concerns about the disclosure regime is to return to the position prior to the Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act 1996. We keep the disclosure regime under active review and will work with practitioners and stakeholders to identify and implement improvements.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the legal framework as a whole allows fraudsters to be brought to justice, and have a number of relevant reforms in hand as part of the national fraud programme, implementing the recommendations of 2006’s fraud review. For example we are consulting on proposals for a framework for plea negotiation in fraud cases. A working group is examining Crown Court powers to see whether they are sufficient in relation to fraud; and a separate working group is examining whether there should be a specialist financial court.

These initiatives are part of a wider programme, financed by an additional £29 million from the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, including the establishment of a national fraud strategic authority; a national fraud reporting centre; and a lead force for fraud.

Under Richard Alderman’s leadership the Solicitor-General and I expect the SFO to play a full part in tackling fraud effectively as part of this wider programme.

Copies of the report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


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