Proceeds of Crime Bill

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Mr. Ainsworth: I beg to move amendment No. 343, in page 271, line 8, leave out from '3' to end of line 14 and insert—

    '(courts of summary jurisdiction), after sub-paragraph (i) insert—

    ''(j) proceedings under sections 294, 296, 297, [Victims] and 300 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2001''.'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 651 to 654.

Mr. Ainsworth: This group of amendments is intended to make civil public funding available for certain proceedings under the Bill. I mentioned most of them to the Committee during our deliberations in December.

I shall begin with the main group relating to part 2. As members of the Committee know, the Bill transfers restraint, receivership and other High Court confiscation functions to the Crown court. These proceedings may affect both the defendant and a third party. They are currently classified as civil and automatically attract civil public funding on the standard conditions.

Criminal public funding is available to a defendant in the Crown court between the instigation and conclusion of proceedings. It is not available to third parties in the Crown court. Consequently, we must make civil public funding available to cover cases in which criminal public funding does not apply but in which the defendant and other parties may be affected by proceedings. We intend for the standard conditions to apply before funding is made available, as happens at present.

The meat is in amendment No. 654, which has three main effects on part 2. It will make civil public funding available to the defendant before proceedings have commenced. That is required because it will be possible to obtain a restraint order as soon as an investigation is under way.

6.8 pm

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

6.22 pm

On resuming—

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Mr. Ainsworth: The second effect of amendment No. 654 is to make civil public funding available to the recipient of a tainted gift. The third is to make such funding available to other third parties affected by restraint or receivership proceedings.

We have spotted that compensation proceedings under clauses 72 and 73 have been transferred from the High Court to the Crown court. As a result, if a third party were, for example, to apply for compensation, criminal public funding would not be available, for reasons that I have already mentioned. Amendment No. 654 therefore also makes civil public funding available to cover applications for compensation. Amendment No. 343 makes equivalent provision for parties to cash forfeiture proceedings in Northern Ireland.

The recovery of cash scheme is set out in chapter 3 of part 5 and provides that such proceedings take place in the summary jurisdiction. We need to provide civil public funding in that criminal venue. In common with the amendments that relate to the confiscation proceedings, civil public funding will be made available to anyone who either makes an application to the magistrates court or becomes party to a connected hearing under the cash recovery scheme. Such parties could include the person from whom the cash was seized and a claimed owner of the cash.

In common with the confiscation scheme, the Bill prevents any person from drawing on detained cash for legal expenses once it has been seized. People will, of course, be required to meet the means and merits test before civil public funding is paid. The amendments are desirable. They provide a safety net for defendants, and I commend them to the Committee.

Mr. Hawkins: I agree with the Minister, for once, as does my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield. The amendments are helpful, and as the Minister rightly says, they provide a safety net. It is important that legal aid is made available. Does the fact that the Bill did not originally specify that and now, helpfully, will, alter the compliance cost assessment that the Minister made? I appreciate that he may not be able to write to me today, but if he will undertake to write to me and other Committee members about any extra cost to public funds of the further legal aid provision, I need not detain him.

Mr. Ainsworth: Our initial impression is that it does not, but we shall reflect on the matter, and if that is not true, I shall write to the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 661, in page 271, line 19, after '2' insert ', 3'.

No. 662, in page 271, line 20, at end insert—

    'Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (c. 45)

    (1) The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 is amended as follows

    (2) In section 86A(3) (application of Part VIIA) for ''sections 21(2) and 28(1) of the Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act 1995'' substitute ''section 21(2) of the Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act 1995 and Part 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002''

    (3) In paragraph 8 of Schedule 2A (interpretation) for the definition of ''restraint order'' substitute—

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    ''restraint order means a restraint order made under Part 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002''.'.

No. 601, in page 272, line 21, at end insert—

    'Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 (c. 66)

    11A. (1) The Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 is amended as follows

    (2) In section 5(4) (meaning of ''qualified creditor'') for the words from ''has the meaning'' to ''1995'' substitute ''means a confiscation order under Part 2, 3 or 4 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002''.'

    (3) In section 7(1) (meaning of ''apparent insolvency'') for the words from ''has the meaning assigned'' where second occurring to ''said Act of 1994'' where second occurring substitute '' ''confiscation order'' and ''restraint order'' mean a confiscation order or a restraint order made under Part 2, 3 or 4 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002''

    (4) After section 31 (vesting of estate at date of sequestration) insert—

    ''31A Property subject to restraint order

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the debtor's estate by virtue of section 405(2)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property subject to a restraint order),

    (b) an order under section 50, 52, 129, 201 or 203 of that Act has not been made in respect of the property, and

    (c) the restraint order is discharged.

    (2) On the discharge of the restraint order the property vests in the permanent trustee as part of the debtor's estate.

    (3) But subsection (2) does not apply to the proceeds of property realised by a management receiver under section 49(2)(d) or 200(2)(d) of that Act (realisation of property to meet receiver's remuneration and expenses).

    31B Property in respect of which receivership or administration order is made

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the debtor's estate by virtue of section 405(2)(b), (d) or (e) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property in respect of which an order for the appointment of a receiver or administrator under certain provisions of that Act is in force), and

    (b) a confiscation order is made under section 6, 94 or 158 of that Act,

    (c) the amount payable under the confiscation order is fully paid, and

    (d) any of the property remains in the hands of the receiver or administrator (as the case may be).

    (2) The property vests in the permanent trustee as part of the debtor's estate.

    31C Property subject to certain orders where confiscation order discharged or quashed

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the debtor's estate by virtue of section 405(2)(a), (b), (d) or (e) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property in respect of which a restraint order or an order for the appointment of a receiver or administrator under that Act is in force),

    (b) a confiscation order is made under section 6, 94 or 158 of that Act, and

    (c) the confiscation order is discharged under section 31, 116 or 183 of that Act (as the case may be) or quashed under that Act or in pursuance of any enactment relating to appeals against conviction or sentence.

    (2) Any property in the hands of a receiver appointed under Part 2 or 4 of that Act or an administrator appointed under Part 3 of that Act vests in the permanent trustee as part of the debtor's estate.

    (3) But subsection (2) does not apply to the proceeds of property realised by a management receiver under section 49(2)(d) or 200(2)(d) of that Act (realisation of property to meet receiver's remuneration and expenses).''

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    (5) In section 55 (effect of discharge) after subsection (2) insert—

    ''(2A) In subsection (2)(a) above the reference to a fine or other penalty due to the Crown includes a reference to a confiscation order made under Part 2, 3 or 4 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.''.'

No. 590, in page 272, leave out lines 23 to 26 and insert—

    '12 (1) The Insolvency Act 1986 is amended as follows

    (2) In section 281 (effect of discharge) after subsection (4) insert—

    ''(4A) In subsection (4) the reference to a fine includes a reference to a confiscation order under Part 2, 3 or 4 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.''

    (3) After section 306 insert—

    ''306A Property subject to restraint order

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the bankrupt's estate by virtue of section 402(2)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property subject to a restraint order),

    (b) an order under section 50, 52, 129, 201 or 203 of that Act has not been made in respect of the property, and

    (c) the restraint order is discharged.

    (2) On the discharge of the restraint order the property vests in the trustee as part of the bankrupt's estate.

    (3) But subsection (2) does not apply to the proceeds of property realised by a management receiver under section 49(2)(d) or 200(2)(d) of that Act (realisation of property to meet receiver's remuneration and expenses).

    306B Property in respect of which receivership or administration order made

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the bankrupt's estate by virtue of section 402(2)(b), (d) or (e) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property in respect of which an order for the appointment of a receiver or administrator under certain provisions of that Act is in force),

    (b) a confiscation order is made under section 6, 94 or 158 of that Act,

    (c) the amount payable under the confiscation order is fully paid, and

    (d) any of the property remains in the hands of the receiver or administrator (as the case may be).

    (2) The property vests in the trustee as part of the bankrupt's estate.

    306C Property subject to certain orders where confiscation order discharged or quashed

    (1) This section applies where—

    (a) property is excluded from the bankrupt's estate by virtue of section 402(2)(a), (b), (d) or (e) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (property in respect of which a restraint order or an order for the appointment of a receiver or administrator under that Act is in force),

    (b) a confiscation order is made under section 6, 94 or 158 of that Act, and

    (c) he confiscation order is discharged under section 31, 116 or 183 of that Act (as the case may be) or quashed under that Act or in pursuance of any enactment relating to appeals against conviction or sentence.

    (2) Any such property in the hands of a receiver appointed under Part 2 or 4 of that Act or an administrator appointed under Part 3 of that Act vests in the trustee as part of the bankrupt's estate.

    (3) But subsection (2) does not apply to the proceeds of property realised by a management receiver under section 49(2)(d) or 200(2)(d) of that Act (realisation of property to meet receiver's remuneration and expenses).''.'.—[Mr. Bob Ainsworth.]

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