Lisa Osofsky, the new director of the UK Serious Fraud Office, says her agency should use insiders and co-operators to bring to life by way of live evidence the document-heavy cases it prosecutes.

Speaking to the Commons Justice Committee in December 2018, Ms Osofsky alluded to the slow pace of SFO investigations as one of the agency’s key criticisms and suggested that getting an ‘insider’ to help the SFO understand what was going on could be helpful in presenting cases to juries.

These comments are perhaps unsurprising from Ms Osofsky, who was previously a federal prosecutor and assistant general counsel to the FBI in the United States, where plea deals and immunity in exchange for testimony are more prevalent.

In a speech delivered earlier the same month, Ms Osofksy recognised that historically, cooperators in the UK have been used mostly in the context of gang-related and terrorism offences.

The statutory power to grant immunity and other protections can be applied in any type of case. Ms Osofsky has made clear that she and her SFO colleagues are ‘[intent on] exploring this area in the white-collar world’.

In this GT Advisory, we discuss the controversial history of ‘grassing’ in the UK and describe the process of obtaining immunity and other protections.

To read the full advisory, click here.