House of Lords - Explanatory Note
Crime (International Co-Operation) Bill [HL] - continued          House of Lords

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Clause 51: Subordinate legislation

108.     This clause provides that the power to make an order under Part 1 of the Bill is to be exercised by statutory instrument, and that the negative resolution procedure will apply to such instruments.

Clause 52: General interpretation

109.     This clause defines the terms used in Part 1 of the Bill. Most are self-explanatory.

110.     The inclusion of "administrative proceedings" is to cover the requirement of the Schengen Convention and the MLAC to provide assistance not only in criminal matters, but also in administrative proceedings where the outcome can lead to criminal proceedings. In some EU member states offences such as driving infractions are classified neither as criminal nor civil proceedings, but as administrative proceedings. In the UK, there is no precise parallel to these proceedings, but legislation is needed to allow assistance to be provided to other participating countries in relation to this type of proceedings.

111.     The Schengen Convention also provides for assistance in relation to "clemency proceedings", which are defined in this clause.

112.     It also requires assistance to be granted in relation to civil proceedings joined to criminal proceedings, where a final decision has not yet been reached in the criminal proceedings. The definition of "criminal proceedings" therefore allows for assistance to be provided in these cases.

Part 2: Terrorist Acts: Jurisdiction

Clause 53: Jurisdiction for terrorist offence

113.     The main UK legislation on counter-terrorism is the Terrorism Act 2000. The Terrorism Act defines terrorism as being both a serious criminal act, and one that is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause. Under UK law, in general, there are no "terrorist" offences (apart from a few specific offences such as directing terrorism, weapons training, terrorist funding and inciting terrorism). Suspected terrorists are prosecuted under criminal legislation such as murder, conspiracy to cause explosions etc. Criminal offences falling within the definition of terrorism contained within the Terrorism Act 2000 can be investigated by the police using the same powers within the Act. The UK's extensive anti-terrorism legislation already meets the requirements of the Framework Decision, with the exception of the provisions on extra-territorial jurisdiction.

114.     Article 9 of the FD on combating terrorism requires participating countries to take extra-territorial jurisdiction for specified offences where these are committed for a terrorist purpose. Existing UK legislation does not provide for this because the primary basis of criminal jurisdiction in the differing parts of the UK is territorial, which has the effect that, unless a criminal statute expressly provides for extra-territorial jurisdiction, jurisdiction is only in respect of offences which take place in that part of the UK. There is already provision for extra-territorial jurisdiction in the Terrorism Act 2000 for terrorist financing and terrorist bombing offences so the UK could ratify the UN Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist bombings and the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (see sections 62 and 63 respectively). They enable the UK to meet its obligations under the "extradite or prosecute" provisions of these Conventions.

115.     The purpose of Article 9 of the FD is to ensure that Member States take responsibility for terrorist activities by their own nationals and residents, no matter where those acts occur, and also to ensure that those who attack UK nationals, residents, UK diplomatic staff and EU institutions can be prosecuted effectively. The first clause inserts extra sections 63 A to E after section 63 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

63A Other terrorist offences under this Act: jurisdiction

116.     Section 63A extends the jurisdiction of specific terrorist offences included within the Terrorism Act to outside the UK for section 54 (weapons training) and sections 56 to 61 inclusive (directing a terrorist organisation, possession for terrorist purposes, collection of information, and inciting terrorism overseas). Extra-territorial jurisdiction is only taken in respect of UK nationals and residents. Subsections (2) and (3) define respectively a UK national and a UK resident for the purposes of sections 63A, 63B and 63C.

63B Terrorist attacks abroad by UK residents or nationals: jurisdiction

117.     Section 63B(1) gives the UK extra-territorial jurisdiction over certain specific domestic offences where they are committed by UK nationals or residents outside of the UK as an act of terrorism or for the purposes of terrorism. Subsection (2) lists the specific offences. These reflect those found in Article 1 of the FD. The FD uses a similar definition of terrorism to that in the Terrorism Act. This new section and the sections below depend on the definition of terrorism in section 1 of the Terrorism Act to ensure that extra-territorial jurisdiction is only taken for acts that would be considered acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act.

63C Terrorist attacks abroad on UK nationals, residents and diplomatic staff etc: jurisdiction

118.     Section 63C(1) gives the UK extra-territorial jurisdiction over certain domestic offences where they are committed against UK nationals or residents and "protected persons" outside the UK as an act of terrorism or for the purposes of terrorism. The nationality or residence of the offender is irrelevant. Subsection (2) lists the offences for which the UK will take extra-territorial jurisdiction. Subsection (3) specifies those persons who are "protected persons." "Protected persons" includes all diplomatic and consular staff, whether of UK nationality or not. Because Article 9(1)(e) of the FD requires Member States to take extra-territorial jurisdiction over offences against institutions of the European Union established on their territory, subsection (3)(c) includes in the definition of "protected persons" employees of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, which is at present the only EU institution based in the UK. Should further EU agencies set up in the UK in future, subsection (3)(d) provides a power for the Secretary of State to add further bodies by order. Subsection (4) limits subsection (3)(d) to any future European Union institution based in the UK. Subsection (5) enables a protected person to be identified by the issue of a certificate by the Secretary of State.

63D: Terrorist attacks or threats in connection with UK diplomatic premises etc: jurisdiction

119.     This section gives the UK jurisdiction over terrorist offences or the threat of terrorist offences committed either against the residential or working premises or vehicles of protected persons when a protected person is in, or likely to be, on the premises or vehicle. This will cover attacks on UK embassies and consulates abroad. This is to give effect to Article 9(1)(e) of the FD, which requires Member States to take extra-territorial jurisdiction in cases of terrorist attack on their institutions. At present if a terrorist act is committed against UK diplomatic residencies, any proceedings have to be brought by the relevant authorities of the country in which the incident took place. Under these new provisions, the UK government would be able to prosecute effectively those who attack or threaten to attack its personnel and premises. Subsection (1) provides that the UK will take extra-territorial jurisdiction over certain domestic offences where they are committed against the premises or vehicles of protected persons when a protected person is in, or likely to be, on the premises or vehicle. Subsection (2) lists the offences for which the UK will take extra-territorial jurisdiction. Subsections (3) and (4) provide that in addition the UK will take extra-territorial jurisdiction over the threat offences in the Criminal Damage Act 1971, (and its Northern Ireland equivalent, and, in Scotland, breach of the peace), when committed in respect of protected persons premises or vehicles, as an act of terrorism or for the purposes of terrorism.

63E Sections 63B to 63D: supplementary

120.     This section provides for the Attorney General's consent for prosecutions in England and Wales in respect of conduct which would not be an offence apart from sections 63B, C and D and the consent of the Advocate General for Northern Ireland in respect of prosecutions in Northern Ireland. In relation to offences under sections 54 to 61 of the Terrorism Act 2000, section 117 makes provision for consent to prosecution. No express provision is required for Scotland. The Lord Advocate has responsibility for all prosecutions.

Clause 54: Jurisdiction for offence under section 113 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

121.     This clause provides for extra territorial jurisdiction over offences under section 113 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (offences involving noxious substances) by adding a section 113A. It is an offence under section 113 for a person to use or threaten to use a biological, chemical, radioactive or other noxious substance to cause various kinds of serious harm in a manner designed to influence the government or intimidate the public. Offences under this section carry a sentence of up to 14 years and a fine. Extra-territorial jurisdiction for offences under section 113 are confined however to those committed for a terrorist purpose in the sense that it is undertaken for the purpose of advancing a political religious or ideological cause through subsection (2). Subsection (3) outlines the circumstances when extra territorial jurisdiction is to be taken. These are the same as in the clauses above namely; when the act is by a United Kingdom national or resident; by any person to a United Kingdom national, resident or protected person; and by anyone against the premises or vehicle of a protected person when they are in or on it.

Part 3: Convention on Driving Disqualification

Chapter 1: Convention on Driving Disqualifications

Clause 55: Application of clause 56

122.     This clause prescribes when the duty in clause 56 to notify a central authority of an EU Member State about a disqualification will apply. The duty covers a driving disqualification imposed in the UK on a resident of another Member State. Schedule 3 lists the road traffic offences which, in the circumstances specified, would require notification of disqualification. A minimum period of disqualification must apply in respect of the offences in Part 2 but not Part 1.

123.     The requirement will only apply to a disqualification which is no longer subject to appeal. The clause also provides for clause 56 not to apply in circumstances prescribed in regulations. Notification would not be required, for example, where another Member State has declared that it will apply certain discretionary conditions to the recognition of disqualifications, as described in Article 6(2) of the Convention.

Clause 56: Duty to give notice to foreign authorities of driving disqualification of a non-UK resident

124.     This clause places a duty on the appropriate Minister (the Secretary of State in Great Britain or the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland) in the circumstances specified in the previous clause, to notify a driving disqualification to the authorities in the Member State where the offender is normally resident. The notice must include information required by the Convention to allow the central authority to locate the offender, together with details of the offence and the order made against him. The appropriate Minister is also required to provide evidence that an offender who did not take part in the proceedings was properly notified of them. Under Article 6(1)(e) of the Convention, the State of residence must refuse to recognise a disqualification if it considers that the person concerned did not have an adequate opportunity to defend himself. If the period of disqualification is reduced or removed by a court subsequent to the appropriate Minister sending his notification, he must also inform the central authority.

Clause 57: Application of clause 58

125.     This clause describes when under clause 58 a driving disqualification, imposed in another Member State on a person normally resident in the UK, will be enforced in the UK. This will be the case where the offence which gives rise to the disqualification constitutes one of the categories of conduct specified in the Convention, or other conduct constituting an offence which results in a disqualification of at least the minimum period. A disqualification will not be enforced if the relevant proceedings in the State of offence were brought later than the time provided for the commencement of summary proceedings for a corresponding offence in the United Kingdom. This accords with Article 6(1)(d) of the Convention which precludes enforcement of a disqualification where the period of limitation would have expired under the state of residence's legislation. The Minister may make regulations about the correspondence between UK offences and other States' offences. The disqualification must not be subject to any further appeal in the State of the offence.

Clauses 58 and 59: Recognition in the UK of foreign driving disqualifications

126.     These clauses allow for a person in the circumstances set out in the previous clause, and to whom the appropriate Minister sends notification, to be disqualified from driving in the UK. The appropriate Minister will receive a notification under the Convention from the State of offence with the information he requires to enforce the disqualification. The Minister has discretion as to whether to enforce a disqualification where the unexpired period is less than one month. Where the disqualification also requires the driver to satisfy a condition that will also be enforced. The UK disqualification takes effect 21 days after notification to the offender. But the appropriate minister has power to substitute a longer period. The intention is that the period at the end of which the disqualification takes effect should be the same as the period for appealing under clause 60.

127.     The Convention requires that any part of the disqualification already served in the State of the offence is taken into account in recognising the disqualification in the offender's State of residence. Clause 58 grants the appropriate Minister power to make regulations to prescribe how the unexpired period of disqualification is to be determined. Although the normal appeals process will have been exhausted before the disqualification is notified to Great Britain, if the State of the offence removes the disqualification at any time during the unexpired period, the disqualification will also cease to have effect in Great Britain at that time.

Clauses 60 to 63: Appeal against Disqualification and Power of Appellate Courts to Suspend Disqualification.

128.     Clause 60 enables a person disqualified under clause 58 to appeal on limited grounds to their local Magistrates Court in England and Wales, the sheriff court in Scotland or a court of summary jurisdiction in Northern Ireland. The appeal is only concerned with the imposition of the disqualification under clause 58 and has no bearing on the conviction and disqualification in the State of the offence. An appeal must be made within 21 days of the notice of disqualification being issued (although there is power to substitute a longer period). Separate provision is made for the appellate courts in each part of the UK, where the court thinks fit, to suspend the disqualification and notify the appropriate Minister that it has done so. If the court allows the appeal it is also required to notify the appropriate Minister.

1.     Clauses 64 to 66: Production of Licence

129.     Clauses 64 and 65 require a licence holder disqualified under clause 58 to deliver his licence and counterpart to the appropriate Minister within 21 days of the notice being given. An offence is created where a person does not comply with this requirement. There are exceptions to this offence where the person is not in possession of his licence or has applied for a new licence. Where a Community licence is produced to the appropriate Minister by a person disqualified under clause 58, the Minister is required to send the details of the holder and the disqualification to the authority in the relevant EEA State which issued the licence. The Minister will return the licence to the holder at the appropriate time unless the driver would not be authorised to drive in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, in which case the licence will be returned to the issuing authority in the relevant EEA State.

Clauses 67 and 68: Effect of disqualification and Rule for determining end of period of disqualification

130.     The licence is treated as revoked from the beginning of the period of UK disqualification, subject to any suspension which is granted. Similarly, any period when a disqualification has been suspended, or the driver not disqualified, will not count towards determining the end of the period of disqualification.

Clauses 69 and 70: Endorsement of Licence

131.     The particulars of a disqualification under clause 58 must be endorsed on the counterpart of a licence. The endorsement remains effective for four years from conviction in all cases. A person may obtain a licence free from the endorsement at the end of this period. If a disqualification is removed under clause 58(6), the appropriate Minister must endorse the counterpart of the licence.

Clause 71: Duty of appropriate Minister to inform competent authority

132.     Under this section, where the appropriate Minister has been notified of a disqualification under the Convention, in accordance with the Convention, he is required to inform the competent authority of the State where the offence took place of the details of the disqualification imposed in Great Britain, or if he has not recognised the disqualification, then he must inform the State of his reasons.

Clause 72: Notices

133.     This specifies how a notice which is required to be sent under this Chapter to an individual, or a Community licence which is required to be returned to its holder, may be delivered to that person. The latest address known to the appropriate Minister will be the proper address for this purpose.

Chapter 2: Mutual Recognition with the United Kingdom

134.     Chapter 2, together with its consequential amendments, removes driver licensing anomalies between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, so as to give the United Kingdom a more coherent system for the implementation of the EU Convention on Driving Disqualifications. It provides that a person disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar is similarly disqualified in Great Britain. The Secretary of State's powers to revoke a licence either on grounds of medical disability, or during a new driver's probationary period are extended to holders of Northern Ireland driving licences in Great Britain.

Clause 77: Recognition in Great Britain of disqualifications in Northern Ireland, etc.

135.     This clause amends the 1988 Road Traffic Act (RTA) to introduce the recognition in Great Britain of driving disqualifications imposed in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. So long as a person is subject to a driving disqualification imposed in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar, he will also be disqualified in Great Britain. This remedies an existing anomaly in the UK driver licensing system, under which none of these jurisdictions recognised driving disqualifications imposed in any of the others. Reciprocal legislation will be needed in these territories for mutual recognition: Northern Ireland proposes to introduce it, the Isle of Man has already done so.

Clause 78: Endorsement of counterparts issued to Northern Ireland licence holders

136.     This clause provides that the holder of a Northern Ireland driving licence committing a road traffic offence in Great Britain will be able to opt for the fixed penalty system for road traffic offences, like the holder of a GB licence, avoiding the inconveniences of a prosecution. The fixed penalty option is not currently available in Great Britain to the holder of a Northern Ireland driving licence. The clause facilitates endorsement of a Northern Ireland licence for a road traffic offence or offences committed in Great Britain for which the fixed penalty system is applied.

137.     Subsection (1) inserts a new section 109A of RTA 1988, enabling the Secretary of State to issue a driving licence counterpart to the holder of a Northern Ireland driving licence so as to enable endorsement by authorities in Great Britain. The clause makes provisions similar to those already applied to the holder of a European Community driving licence other than from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. It enables the Secretary of State to endorse a Northern Ireland driving licence, obliging him to return it to the holder. Section 109A(5) empowers the Secretary of State to require surrender of the counterpart or delivery of the licence to him, and to serve notice in writing that such delivery must be made and information provided within 28 days. It makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road whilst unreasonably failing to surrender the counterpart for endorsement or for correction of particulars of the holder's name or address.

138.      Subsection (2) inserts new sections 91ZA and 91ZB into the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, setting out the application of that Act to Northern Ireland licence holders. The provisions of RTOA 1988 to be applied to Northern Ireland licence holders are those which apply to them the fixed penalty system for traffic offences committed in Great Britain. The court procedures followed when penalty points are endorsed on a driving licence are extended to Northern Ireland licences. In particular, this includes various aspects of procedure when a driver is both disqualified and gains penalty points at the same time.

Clause 79: Prohibition on holding or obtaining Great Britain and Northern Ireland licences

139.     Subsection (2) prevents a Northern Ireland licence holder who obtains a GB licence from continuing to be able to drive in Great Britain by virtue of the Northern Ireland licence. It provides that, on surrender of the Northern Ireland licence when a GB licence is granted, the authorisation to drive a vehicle in Great Britain by virtue of the NI licence ceases, and that the Secretary of State must send the NI licence and its counterpart back to the Northern Ireland authorities.

140.     Subsection (3) is in respect of reciprocal provisions intended in Northern Ireland law. It requires the Secretary of State, where he is satisfied that a Northern Ireland driving licence has been granted to the holder of a Great Britain driving licence and he has received the GB licence, to serve written notice on the person concerned that the GB licence is revoked.

141.     Subsection (4) provides, in order to prevent duplication of licences, that a person holding a NI licence to drive a particular class or classes of vehicle is disqualified from holding or obtaining a GB licence to drive a motor vehicle of that class or classes, if he does not surrender the NI licence to the Secretary of State and remains authorised to drive in Great Britain as a holder of that licence.

Clause 80: Disability and prospective disability

142.     This clause amends the provisions of the RTA 1988 relating to disability and prospective disability of a licence holder. Subsection (2) inserts a new Section 109B into the RTA 1988, which provides for revocation by the Secretary of State of the authorisation to drive in Great Britain conferred by a Northern Ireland driving licence, on grounds of disability or prospective disability. Currently the Secretary of State has a power so to revoke a driving licence issued in Great Britain as set out at section 93 of RTA 1988. The new provisions parallel those which already exist for revocation of a Great Britain driving licence on medical grounds, except that the revocation extends only to the right to drive in Great Britain conferred by virtue of section 109(1) RTA 1988. The Secretary of State may require the NI licence holder to deliver up his licence and the relevant counterparts, so that it may be returned to the Northern Ireland authorities.

143.     Subsection (2) also inserts a new section 109C into RTA 1988. This amendment places the holders of NI licences, if resident in Great Britain, under the same duty as GB licence holders to provide information relating to disabilities.

144.     Subsection (3) makes provision for GB licences, where the right to drive in Northern Ireland has been revoked on medical grounds there under a corresponding provision of Northern Ireland law. In this event the Secretary of State may revoke the licence.

145.     In either circumstance, the Secretary of State may on application grant a new licence for a period which he determines. (For example in the case of an individual suffering from a degenerative disease likely progressively to impair his or her ability to drive, a short period licence might be granted).

Part 4: Miscellaneous

Clause 81: Disclosure of information by SFO

146.     This clause amends the information gateway provision in the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (which established the Serious Fraud Office).

147.     It extends the circumstances in which the SFO can disclose information. Currently, the SFO is permitted to disclose information, in particular circumstances, for the purposes of any prosecution: the amendment will enable that disclosure to take place also for the purposes of any criminal investigation, whether in the UK or elsewhere.

148.     This clause also extends the categories of persons or bodies to which information may be disclosed. At present, disclosure of information by the SFO is limited to bodies with functions equating to those of the SFO. The amendment will improve international co-operation in respect of crime, and extends to bodies established under the Treaty on European Union (designed in particular to facilitate exchanges of information with Eurojust) or any other treaty to which the UK is a party.

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Prepared: 20 November 2002