Clause 50 - Appeals against monetary penalties

National Security and Investment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 8th December 2020.

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

Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Chair, Conservative Party 1922 Committee

With this it will be convenient to discuss clauses 51 and 52 stand part.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

With permission, Sir Graham, I will speak to clauses 50, 51 and 52 together. Clause 50 concerns appeals against penalty notices or variation notices. It is only right that parties have the opportunity to appeal decisions made by the Secretary of State in relation to monetary penalties imposed. Clause 50 provides a person who has received a penalty notice or a variation notice with the right to appeal to the court within 28 days, starting from the day after the notice is served.

On an appeal against a penalty notice, the clause provides that the court may confirm or quash the decision to impose a monetary penalty, confirm or reduce the amount of a penalty, and confirm or vary the period in which the penalty must be paid. It may not increase the amount of the monetary penalty. Where the appeal is against a variation notice, the court may confirm, vary or quash the variation, but again it may not increase the amount of the monetary penalty.

Clause 51 provides a right of appeal against decisions made by the Secretary of State related to requirements to pay costs associated with monetary penalties. Clause 52 concerns extraterritorial application and jurisdiction to try offences under the regime. Let me briefly turn back to clauses 32 to 35, which create the offences of the regime. We would normally expect that if those offences occurred, they would happen in the UK. That will not, however, always be the case, and offences will not always involve UK nationals or bodies.

As befits a regime that concerns the actions of international actors in relation to the United Kingdom, the Bill has some application beyond the shores of the UK. For example, the Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to issue final orders on conduct outside the UK by certain categories of person with a connection to the UK, including UK nationals and companies incorporated here. Therefore, clause 52 provides for the offences in clauses 32 to 35 to have extraterritorial effect, including in relation to non-UK nationals and bodies. That means that conduct abroad that amounts to an offence can be prosecuted and it also enables the Secretary of State to impose monetary penalties in relation to offences committed outside the UK. That ensures that regime obligations are not unenforceable simply because they concern conduct abroad. I hope that hon. Members will agree that, in a globalised world where transactions routinely take place across borders, it is important for enforcement to be able to react with equal agility. I therefore submit that the appeals process set out in the clauses should be adopted and that, in a globalised world, it is necessary for extraterritorial regime breaches to be enforceable.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

It is a pleasure to respond in this debate and observe how quickly we have galloped throughs parts 2 and 3. I wonder if that may in part relate to the descending temperatures that we are enjoying. While I know that the Committee shares my fascination with the various procedural and judicial issues with which we were wrestling, the temperature gave no scope for anyone to get comfortable enough to fail to pay attention. I recognise that we on this side of the Committee are in an advantageous position in that we are furthest from the open windows.

We recognise the importance of clauses 50 to 52 in terms of appeals against monetary penalties, of appeals against costs and of having extraterritorial application and jurisdiction to try offences. The Minister set out the reasons for that. To return to an intervention from the hon. Member for Wyre Forest, I am concerned about whether the provisions will be enforceable and useable in having extraterritorial application and jurisdiction over those who are not British and where the offence does not take place in the UK. Do the Government envisage––the impact assessment is, once again, remarkably silent on this––issuing international warrants to get access to those thought to have committed offences but who are not in the UK? Will the measures be pursued and enforced actively or are they there to deal with exceptional circumstances? I would be happy for the Minister to intervene.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I think that the hon. Lady’s question is whether the Government will genuinely be able to punish offences committed overseas. Clearly, in a globalised world where transactions routinely take place across borders, it is important that we have the ability to punish offences and be as agile as those who wish to do us harm. It is therefore right that these offences have extraterritorial reach. We will work with overseas public authorities to ensure that offenders face justice where appropriate.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

I thank the Minister for that intervention. I am reluctant to test his tolerance by bringing Brexit into this, but I hope that we will continue to have the means to engage with overseas jurisdictions in order to pursue those who break UK law, here or abroad. We will not oppose the clauses, and I congratulate the Committee on making such speedy progress.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 50 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 51 and 52 ordered to stand part of the Bill,.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. ––(Michael Tomlinson.)

Adjourned till Thursday 10 December at half-past Eleven o’clock.

Written evidence reported to the House

NSIB03 Joint Working Party of the Company Law Committees of the City of London Law Society and the Law Society of England and Wales