account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

The fraud 'justice systems': a scoping study

Researchers: Professor Mark Button

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

Fraud is an expensive crime problem, with millions of cases occurring each year; however, only a tiny proportion of cases are dealt with by the criminal justice system. Instead:

  • Innovative ways have emerged for corporate victims to secure prison sanctions against fraudsters through the use of contempt in the civil courts
  • Some fraudsters, who have stolen millions of pounds, have been sanctioned by regulatory bodies with no reference to the criminal courts
  • Thousands of ‘fraudsters’ are punished by being placed on privately run fraudster registers, with no confirmation of ‘guilt’, but with serious implications for their ability to secure jobs and access financial products such as insurance, credit cards and mortgages.

The standards of justice in these systems vary significantly and in some cases are at odds with some of the foundations of justice, such as separation between investigators, prosecutors and those who determine guilt.

These justice systems have received very little research but many questions arise concerning their extent of use, effectiveness and wider implications to society. This project aims to undertake a scoping study that will map the wide range of state and private bodies administering justice in this area and evaluate the suitability, strengths and weaknesses of such arrangements. This will provide an evidence base and research tools for further research and policy development in this socially significant but neglected area.


  • Professor Mark Button
    University of Portsmouth

  • Imogen Parker
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

Search projects

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.