chapter  8
Pages 7

The Conservative government also believes that the standard of proof required in prosecutions for insider dealing should remain ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ and should not be reduced to the standard required in civil litigation which is that of a ‘balance of probabilities’. The Economic Secretary to the Treasury made the point that people were mistaken if they believed that changing the standard of proof which was required would substantially increase the number of convictions. He said that:

For the moment, the Conservative government has rejected suggestions that the offence of insider dealing should be replaced or supplemented by specific ‘civil’ sanctions capable of being imposed by one of the ‘City’ regulators, such as the Securities and Investments Board or the Securities and Futures Authority. The Economic Secretary to the Treasury said that the government was not proposing to take any such approach. ‘Why, for example, should “less serious” cases of insider dealing, which today would be prosecuted, be taken away from the courts when “less serious” cases of theft or fraud are not?’6 He also emphasised that the possibility of civil sanctions, perhaps through the medium of bringing an action for damages, already existed under current law. Also, ‘... self-regulating organisations can take action where there is a breach of their rules. That is a civil course open to them, and fines can be imposed. The insider can also lose his job’.7