Accountants face jury duty

The Lord Chancellor’s office said Lord Irvine is reviewing a report by Sir Robin Auld into the justice system and detailed proposals can be expected in July.

The Auld report recommends the removal of the right to trial by jury in complex frauds, as regular jurors are not equipped to deal with these complicated cases.

A spokeswoman said the Lord Chancellor recognised accounting was ‘deeply embedded’ in fraud cases, implying you have to be an accountant to understand them.

She told Accountancy Age: ‘If it is a very complex fraud case, there are many occasions where accountants could be summoned.’

The Lord Chancellor also revealed he is looking to summon expert assessors instead of jurors.

PKF forensic accountant Hugh Matthew-Jones said accountants and lawyers with experience in fraud would be first on the list as expert assessors.

He said: ‘A lot of frauds involve complex transactions moving money through accounts to try and conceal its source. That’s the sort of thing forensic accountants get involved in so they would be the logical choice.’

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