Webinar "The Serco Trial: What Went Wrong?" available to download

QEB Hollis Whiteman, Hickman & Rose and Peters & Peters hosted a webinar - The Serco Trial: What Went Wrong?

In the webinar, the defence lawyers in the Serco prosecution considered the factors which led to the collapse of the case.

Adrian Darbishire QCKaren Robinson and Tom Doble of QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers, and Neil Swift of Peters & Peters and Andrew Katzen of Hickman & Rose were the speakers.

You can watch the webinar in full here.


From 2005 to mid-2013, Serco Limited provided tagging and monitoring services pursuant to a contract with the Ministry of Justice.  The principal source of the equipment used to do so was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Serco Limited, known as SGL.  Under the contract, Serco Limited were obliged to reveal to the Ministry of Justice the revenues, costs and profits associated with the tagging contract.  In November 2013, Serco disclosed to the Serious Fraud Office that it had discovered documents which “raise concerns, including in respect of whether inflated profits have been taken in SGL so as to record lower profits in Serco.”  That disclosure prompted a six-year investigation, which culminated in the conclusion of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SGL, by then a dormant company with no prospect of future trading, and the payment by Serco of £20m plus £4m of SFO costs.  Less than three months after the DPA was approved, Serco was awarded a 10-year, £800m prisoner escorting contract by the Ministry of Justice.

As with the Tesco prosecution, the trial which concluded on Monday 26th April 2021 was based upon the case theory agreed between Serco and the SFO as part of the DPA.  The Serco defendants were the tenth and eleventh individuals to have been prosecuted following a DPA.  On the 26th April, mid-way through the prosecution case, the trial ended with the SFO offering no further evidence.  The defendants thus became the tenth and eleventh individuals to be acquitted in proceedings following a DPA.  This seminar examined the context for what occurred and the possible wider implications. 

Adrian Darbishire QCTom Doble and Zara Brawley were instructed by Neil Swift of Peters & Peters.  Karen Robinson and Katherine Lloyd were instructed by Andrew Katzen of Hickman & Rose.

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