Clause 4 — Fraud by abuse of position

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 2:07 pm on 26th October 2006.

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Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department 2:07 pm, 26th October 2006

The Government appreciate that we need to consider introducing a stand-alone Bill to tackle the way in which some fraud trials have been conducted. We believe that it is important to have the ability to deal with the few non-jury trials in serious fraud cases. We intend to revert to that at some stage and introduce an appropriate measure. We have made it clear that we want to have full discussion here and in the other place about that.

There is a range of steps that we can take to combat fraud. We have provided considerable extra resources for the Serious Fraud Office and the City of London police to tackle fraud; we have set up a wide-ranging review of fraud to examine the UK's long-term response to it, and we plan to introduce a Bill at an appropriate stage to deal with the way in which the courts tackle the most serious cases of fraud.

However, the Bill will deliver one vital component to combating fraud—an effective criminal law. It will remove the fundamental deficiencies in the existing law and ensure that it can capture the true breadth of fraud. The Bill is complete and comprehensive. It will provide us with a criminal law fit for meeting the challenges posed by fraudsters today. It is a measure that is eagerly awaited by stakeholders. It should improve the prosecution process by reducing the chance of offences being wrongly charged. It should provide greater flexibility to keep pace with the use of technology in crimes of fraud.

I commend the Bill to the House.