Clause 32

Part of Serious Crime Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 3 July 2007.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:30, 3 July 2007

There is a small technical point about unincorporated associations. Again, this relates to the circumstances where a serious crime prevention order has been taken out against an unincorporated  association. The clause makes it clear that actions are to be brought in the name of the unincorporated association, rather than any specific individuals. It also makes it clear that if there is a fine attached to an offence, it should be paid out of the funds of the association, rather than by any specific individual. The Minister refers to the possibility of connivance having relation to the clause.

Obviously, an unincorporated association, by its nature, is a group or a body of individuals who make up that association. Its membership may change from time to time. The Minister may not be able to answer this question immediately, but a thought that crossed my mind in relation to fines is that the Bill says that fines will be paid out of the association, but if the association does not have such funds, in those circumstances normally one would look in terms of individual liability that would attach to the members. I know that there are specific provisions that govern when someone is deemed to be a member, or when the membership changes, which are contained in the earlier part of the clause, but I seek clarification or assurance from the Minister as to whether the situation has been envisaged where a fine has been levied but there are insufficient assets from the unincorporated association to meet such a liability, and what would happen in such circumstances.