English High Court Considers Status of Internal Investigation Interview Notes

25 April 2018
View Debevoise Update
Key takeaways:
  • A significant recent decision by the English High Court is likely to lead to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) putting further pressure on companies to produce notes of internal investigation interviews to individuals prosecuted following a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).
  • The Court found that the SFO’s disclosure obligations to individual defendants generally require it to seek the production of relevant interview notes from companies, including by litigating privilege claims if necessary.
  • In addition, the Court indicated that the practice of companies providing oral summaries of interview notes likely constitutes a waiver of privilege, or at least a limited waiver which does not exclude the SFO’s ability to disclose the interview notes to individual defendants. The Court also stated that the SFO should consider whether to require companies to waive privilege over interview notes as part of the ongoing duty of cooperation under a DPA.