House of Commons portcullis
House of Commons
Session 1997-98
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament
Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Landmines Bill
  The Bill is concerned with the implementation in the United Kingdom of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction ("the Convention") which was signed by the United Kingdom at Ottawa on 3 December 1997 (Cm 3990). It will enable the United Kingdom to ratify the Convention.{emshp}Anti-personnel mines and offences relating to them
  Clause 1 defines the main terms used in the Bill.
  Clause 2 prohibits the use, development, production, acquisition, possession or transfer of an anti-personnel mine. It also makes it an offence to assist, encourage or induce any other person to do such things. Contravention is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of fourteen years.
  Clause 3 provides for Clause 2 to apply to acts done in the United Kingdom, and to acts done outside it by such people as United Kingdom nationals.
  Clause 4 permits the possession or transfer of anti-personnel mines for purposes such as the development of techniques in mine detection and training.
  Clause 5 provides a defence to a Clause 2 offence relating to certain international military operations.
  Clause 6 provides certain other defences to an offence under Clause 2.{emshp}Securing the destruction of anti-personnel mines
  Clause 7 provides that if the Secretary of State has grounds to suspect that an object is an anti-personnel mine or a component of such a mine and is considering its destruction he may serve a notice on any interested person requiring the person to retain possession while he collects information.
  Clause 8 provides that where there is reasonable cause to believe that an object is prohibited a person may be authorised to enter premises and remove or immobilise the object.
  Clauses 9 and 10 allow the object to be destroyed after the expiry of a period to allow objections to be made.
  Clause 11 allows certain interested persons to apply to the court for compensation.
  Clause 12 creates offences, such as wilful obstruction of an authorised person and giving false information.{emshp}Fact-finding missions under the Ottawa Convention
  Clause 13 provides that the Secretary of State may authorise a fact-finding mission to enter premises and carry out its functions under the Convention.
  Clause 14 creates various offences, such as wilful obstruction of a member of a fact-finding mission.
  Clause 15 confers certain privileges and immunities on members of a fact-finding mission.
  Clause 16 provides that the Secretary of State may reimburse any person for any expenditure incurred in connection with a fact-finding mission.{emshp}Information and records
  Clause 17 gives the Secretary of State the power to require persons to keep records and to provide him with information needed for the purpose of the Convention.
  Clause 18 contains a power to enter and search premises if offences are suspected.
  Clause 19 restricts the disclosure of information obtained under the Bill or the Convention.{emshp}Criminal Proceedings
  Clause 20 requires the consent of the Attorney General for prosecutions under Clause 2.
  Clauses 21 to 23 deal with Customs and Excise prosecutions, forfeiture in case of conviction and offences by bodies corporate.{emshp}Supplemental
  Clause 24 enables the Secretary of State, by order, to amend the Act resulting from the Bill to give effect to any amendment of the Convention.
  Clauses 25 to 29 contain various provisions including a provision that the Bill binds the Crown subject to certain qualifications.
 Financial Effects
  No extra annual costs should result from the provisions contained in the Bill. Compensation or reimbursement under Clause 11 or 16 is unlikely to be required.
  Expenditure may be incurred through contributions to the costs of Meetings and Conferences of States Parties and fact-finding missions under the Convention, and will be met by Her Majesty's Government.
  Her Majesty's Government may incur costs from the need to examine and procure alternative technologies to meet the military capability previously provided by anti-personnel mines, and from the removal from service and destruction of existing stocks of, and for the cancellation of any support contracts for, such weapons.
  There is a possible cost to Her Majesty's Government arising from the obligation in the Convention to clear mines laid in the Falkland Islands.
 Effects on Public Service Manpower
  It is not expected that additional departmental staff will be required.
 Business Compliance Cost Assessment
  There may be some compliance costs to industry but these have yet to be quantified.
House of Commons home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1998
Prepared 3 July 1998