Third Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (External Investigations and External Orders and Requests) (Amendment) Order 2018 (SI 2018/1078)

9.This Order in Council is necessary following amendments made to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the CFA) which provided for the introduction of new powers to investigate, freeze and recover the proceeds of crime. This Order in Council updates the principal Orders in Council made under Part 11 of POCA in light of those amendments, so that equivalent powers are made available to provide assistance to overseas courts and authorities. The consequential changes also include the introduction of two new civil powers to enable the forfeiture of monies stored in bank and building society accounts and the forfeiture of items of personal property, such as precious metals and works of art. For the purposes of external investigations, the Civil Investigation Orders 2013 and 2014 are amended to include Unexplained Wealth Orders and to allow officers of the Serious Fraud Office the requisite investigation powers.

Computer Reservation Systems (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1080)

10.An existing EU law provides for a Code of Conduct for businesses using the computerised reservation systems (CRS). The CRS are computer-based systems for airlines to display their flight fares, mostly for use by travel agents to sell to the consumer. The aim is to display on the CRS available flights and fares in an unbiased manner, with no CRS displaying one airline’s fares in a preferential way or discriminating against an airline. At present, the monitoring and enforcement body is the European Commission (EC), which has the power to levy fines in case of breach of the rules. Under this instrument, these functions will be transferred from the EC to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Court of Justice of the European Union is currently the route for appeals against fines imposed by the EC. This function will be transferred to the High Court of England and Wales, which will hear appeals against CAA decisions relating to the imposition of fines.

Chemical Weapons (Asset-Freezing) and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1090)

11.These Regulations, laid by HM Treasury (HMT), put enforcement provisions in place for breaches of the financial sanctions contained in EU Regulation 2018/1542,4 which introduces new restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. These include travel restrictions and the freezing of funds of those involved in manufacturing, using or engaging in preparations to use chemical weapons, as well as those who assist or encourage such activities. The EU Regulation came into force on 15 October, and follows from the meeting of the European Council on 22 March of this year, which concluded that the use of chemical weapons was “completely unacceptable, and must be systematically and rigorously condemned”–a conclusion reached in the wake of the use of a chemical nerve agent in Salisbury.5

Special Fissile Materials (Right of Use and Consumption) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1094)

12.The purpose of these Regulations is to ensure that operators, such as EDF, can exercise their commercial and property rights over special fissile material (enriched uranium and plutonium) without having to comply with obligations under the Euratom Treaty after the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom on 29 March 2019. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) explains that, under Article 86 of the Euratom Treaty, all special fissile material in a Euratom Member State is collectively owned by Euratom, with ‘ownership’ referring to a sovereign right of Euratom to ultimately dispose of special fissile materials. This right sits above the normal commercial and property rights that operators have under Article 87 of the Euratom Treaty, which enable them to use and consume special fissile materials subject to certain obligations and safeguards. BEIS explains that while the sovereign Euratom right under Article 86 will cease to apply in the UK following the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, the Article 87 provisions are directly effective in UK law and need to be revoked to ensure that operators can use special fissile material without having to comply with Euratom Treaty obligations.

13.We asked BEIS what oversight and safeguards arrangements will apply once the UK has left Euratom. The Department explained that special fissile material will continue to be subject to robust safeguards arrangements and that the Nuclear Safeguards Act provides the legal framework for setting up a domestic nuclear safeguards regime, with the Office for Nuclear Regulation as the domestic regulator in place of Euratom. BEIS expects to lay regulations that will set out the details of the new safeguards regime before Parliament under the affirmative procedure in December 2018. According to BEIS, these regulations will offer coverage and effectiveness equivalent to the existing Euratom regime and will exceed international standards.

4 Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1542 of 15 October 2018 concerning restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons:(OJ L259/12, 16 October 2018).

5 See: EEAS, ‘Salisbury attack: EU condemns grave challenge to shared security; 17 countries expel Russian diplomats’ (26 March 2018):;%2017%20countries%20expel%20Russian%20diplomats

© Parliamentary copyright 2018