Schedule 4 - Powers of trustee for civil recovery

Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 18 December 2001.

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Question proposed, That this schedule be the Fourth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster

The schedule mentions compromise. I wonder what power the trustee has under paragraph 5, which refers to

''compromise or other arrangement in connection with any claim relating to the property.''

I wonder whether the Minister would elucidate, because it seems that the trustee has been stripped of power. In particular, I am slightly concerned about the position of third parties. Can the Minister clarify what the Government had in mind on the subject of compromise on the part of the trustee, and whether the passage is part of some standard documentation on trustee powers, which is found in similar Acts?

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I reassure the hon. Gentleman that most of the details of the clauses that we are discussing are from other Acts and other rules for civil recovery. It may help him to know that property detailed in a recovery order may include a business, shares or some similar type of property. The trustee must be able to manage the property until he decides how best to realise it. The schedule therefore provides that the trustee has the power to manage property. That will allow him to preserve the value of the assets. That is a similar power to that available to the interim receiver or administrator under schedule 3.

The schedule provides the trustee with the power to take part in legal proceedings involving the property and to make a compromise in connection with any claim relating to it. He can do many other specified things that may be necessary before the property can be realised, including suing, being sued and employing agents. The Bill also provides a general power allowing the trustee to do anything else that is necessary or expedient. He effectively holds the ring and can settle proceedings involving the property. That is a standard provision lifted from other civil proceedings, not a new power that is not used elsewhere.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clauses 269 and 270 ordered to stand part of the Bill.