SFO v Leighton Humphreys & others - Multi-million pound costs order made against the SFO

On 12th February 2015, Mr Justice Hickinbottom ordered the prosecution to pay Mr Humphreys’ costs incurred in defending criminal proceedings brought by the Serious Fraud Office from September 2013 onwards, which resulted in the dismissal of the single charge brought by the SFO, and costs incurred in successfully resisting an attempt by the SFO to resurrect those failed criminal proceedings in the High Court. In doing so, Mr Justice Hickinbottom concluded:

'The SFO’s legal analysis…was subject to regular, cataclysmic change, each successive change being fundamental…each of these [versions of their case] was either abandoned - presumably because the SFO accepted that there was no realistic prospect of conviction on that basis - or it was summarily dismissed on the basis that, as a matter of law, it could not succeed. Each lacked legal merit and was without any realistic prospect of success. Each was, from the outset, doomed to fail.’

The judgment was the latest in a trilogy of judgments in Mr Humphrey's case in which the Serious Fraud Office has come under severe criticism (Judgement Feb 2014; Judgement Feb 2015).

Mr Humphreys is represented by Mr Jonathan Elystan Rees of Apex Chambers, Mr John Charles Rees QC and Simon Evenden of De Maids Solicitors & Advocates.