Further to our blog post on 26 April 2016 summarising the proposed Part 8 financial sanctions elements of the Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 to 2016-17 (the “Bill“), the Bill reached its 1st and 2nd reading stages in the House of Commons on 19 May 2016 without any questions put. As previously set out, the Bill proposes the introduction of an extended maximum penalty, Serious Crime Prevention Orders and Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and a new monetary penalties regime in respect of breaches of financial sanctions, as well as temporary UK legislation to bridge the time gap between the adoption of UN sanctions and their implementation by the EU.

The Bill has now been printed with new explanatory notes. The Bill as introduced at its reading stages can be accessed here. The explanatory notes can be accessed here. The notes provide an overview of the Bill, stating the following in relation to its financial sanctions elements:

Part 8 strengthens the enforcement regime for financial sanctions by increasing the maximum custodial sentence on conviction for breaching sanctions, expanding the range of enforcement options, including a new system of monetary penalties, and by providing for the immediate implementation of UN-mandated sanctions.”

The explanatory notes go on to set out the following:

  • provide a background on the UN and EU sanctions framework;
  • note that currently under UK law the maximum penalties relating to financial sanctions breaches are two years’ imprisonment upon conviction on indictment and three months imprisonment upon summary conviction, and that these are inconsistent with penalties for similar offences in other sanctions regimes;
  • refer to an ‘enforcement gap’ between situations deemed serious enough to warrant prosecution and cases where a cautionary letter may be sufficient;
  • refer to the creation of the new Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (for more information see our previous blog post); and
  • summarise the main provisions of Part 8. (Paragraphs 166 to 178.)

The notes then provide a detailed analysis of the Part 8 draft provisions (from paragraphs 883 to 931).

A date for the report stage of the Bill has yet to be announced. If approved, the Bill will proceed to the House of Lords for consideration and potential amendment.