Juries to gain larger role in Fraud cases – Landmark ruling

Legally reviewed by: Laura Smith In: Corporate & Financial Crime

Juries in fraud cases in UK courts will begin to be presented a bigger role in trials in the future.

Cartwright King Head of Tax and Fraud Sundeep Soor reports the new clarified legal test for dishonesty.

A ground-breaking judgment heard at the Court of Appeal has now clarified the legal test for dishonesty in criminal law, which will affect a vast majority of fraud & theft cases. The dishonesty test previously used (the Ghosh test) in criminal cases for the last 38 years has been changed. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the civil test set in the Supreme Court case of Ivey (2017) is now the correct standard to use.

This ruling now means that juries must consider all the facts in the case, including the defendant’s knowledge or belief in the facts, before deciding whether the defendant’s behavior is dishonest by the standards of the ordinary reasonable person.

Legal professionals will be viewing the situation closely, to see how these changes affect the cases, and monitor if the test gives a wider scope for conviction of the defendant.

Sundeep added:

“The difficulty facing courts and practitioners since Ivey (2017), was that the remarks in that case were obiter; so not binding in criminal cases. What the Booth case does is confirm that the Ivey test is the preferred test to use.  With the current pandemic and predicted increase in fraud offences this decision could have greater use and impact than the courts would have envisaged”.

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