The SFO’s Guidance on Self Reporting is key for firms and individuals who are thinking about revealing the extent of any material activities to gain a positive response and sometimes in lieu of being prosecuted. It's reproduced here below. Chambers has been instrumental on both sides of this type of litigation and has an experience which is unrivalled.

"Should I self-report directly to the SFO?"

"The decision to approach [the SFO] may not be easy for a corporation or business when it discovers a problem relating to fraud or corruption within the organisation. We understand that you may not want to approach us unless you have decided, following advice and some investigation by your professional advisers, that there is a real issue that should be reported.

We also understand that there may be reputational risks or issues that concern you and are sensitive to price-sensitive disclosures.

Early reporting of the fraud or corruption to us will benefit your organisation because:

we will consider the full range of options for dealing with your case, including criminal and civil alternatives coming forward to discuss your concerns with us will be treated sensitively you can discuss with us about the possibility of conducting an internal investigation in a discreet way (to lessen the impact on your business) there may be greater opportunities to secure evidence that will result in a successful outcome for both us and your company against fraud or corruption

What happens if I don't report it?

If we launch an investigation as a result of another source of information, it may be considerably harder to manage any publicity surrounding the case along with the inevitable disruption to your business.

We will make use of all tools available to us such as those under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.  There is a chance that we may learn about the fraud or corruption issue from another agency, a whistleblower, or a statutory report (such as a Suspicious Activity Report).

We will assume in those circumstances that your organisation has chosen not to self report."