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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Nuclear Explosions (Prohibition and Inspections) Bill [H.L.]
  The Bill makes provision in the law of the United Kingdom to enable Her Majesty's Government to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 ("the Treaty") (Cn 3665). The Bill makes it an offence to carry out a nuclear weapon test or any other nuclear explosion and makes provision to enable inspections to be carried out in the United Kingdom under the terms of the Treaty.
  Clause 1 makes it an offence, punishable by imprisonment for life, to cause a nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, other than a nuclear weapon explosion carried out in the course of an armed conflict.
  Clause 2 applies clause 1 to acts done in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. In the case of acts done outside the United Kingdom, clause 1 applies to United Kingdom nationals and corporations.
  Clause 3 provides that in England and Wales proceedings for an offence under clause 1 can be instituted only by, or with the consent of, the Attorney General (and makes equivalent provision for Northern Ireland). It also makes provision for anything relating to a clause 1 offence to be forfeited.
  Clause 4 contains definitions relevant to the provisions on inspections in clauses 5 to 9.
  Clauses 5 and 6 provide for the Secretary of State to authorise on-site inspections carried out in the United Kingdom in accordance with the Treaty.
  Clause 7 creates various offences such as wilful obstruction of a member of an inspection team.
  Clause 8 confers certain privileges and immunities, such as immunity from jurisdiction, on members of inspection teams and observers.
  Clause 9 authorises the Secretary of State to reimburse any person for expenditure incurred in connection with an inspection.
  Clause 10 makes provision for warrants to be issued authorising entry on and search of premises, if offences are suspected.
  Clause 11 provides that, where an offence under the Bill is committed by a body corporate or a Scottish partnership, certain individuals are also guilty of the offence.
  Clause 12 makes consequential amendments to the Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts.
  Clause 13 enables the Secretary of State, by order, to amend the Act resulting from the Bill to give effect to any amendment to the Treaty made in accordance with Article VII of the Treaty.
  Clause 14 provides that the Bill binds the Crown subject to certain qualifications.
 Financial effects of the Bill
  No extra annual costs should result from the provisions contained in the Bill. Whether any reimbursement will be required under clause 9 is impossible to predict.
 Effect of the Bill on public service manpower
  It is not expected that additional departmental staff will be required.
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© Parliamentary copyright 1997
Prepared 28 October 1997