Clause 44

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 17 June 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Discretionary requirements: criminal proceedings and conviction

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The clause ensures that where a business is required to pay a variable monetary penalty, whether alone or in combination with non-monetary discretionary requirements or undertakings, the order made by the Minister must secure that the person may not be prosecuted at a later date for the same incident of regulatory non-compliance. This, again, is because of the principle of freedom from double jeopardy. Variable monetary penalties will be enforced through the civil courts. The Bill, particularly clause 52, to which I referred a little while ago, will ensure that regulators have access to an efficient and streamlined procedure for recovering monetary penalties.

I draw attention to clause 44(3), by virtue of which the restriction does not apply where a non-monetary discretionary requirement is imposed or an undertaking is accepted without the imposition of a variable monetary penalty. In such cases, where the business fails to comply with the sanction—we talked about a business that might have spilt chemicals on parkland and so on—it may be prosecuted at a later date for the original offence. The nature of non-monetary requirements is not as punitive, and therefore we believe that it is fair to allow regulators to pursue a prosecution in such cases, where a business fails to comply with the original requirement to restore the situation. Subsection (4) allows for the period within which criminal prosecutions may be instituted to be extended.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 45 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Alison Seabeck.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-one minutes past Six o’clock till Thursday 19 June at Nine o’clock.