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Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013

Part 3: Stop notices

262.Paragraph 13 provides that the Electoral Commission can impose a stop notice on a person in order to prevent them from continuing or repeating a particular activity which the Commission reasonably believe is (or is likely to be) a campaign offence listed in Part 7 of schedule 6 or where the Commission believe that a person’s behaviour is likely to lead to them committing an offence. In both cases the Commission must believe that the activity, or potential activity, is seriously damaging to public confidence in the effectiveness of the controls in schedule 4, or significantly risks doing so.

263.Paragraphs 14 to 17 set out the details and limitations of how the stop notice system operates. Paragraph 14 lists the information to be included in a stop notice—the grounds for imposition, rights of appeal and consequences of non-compliance. Paragraph 15 requires the Commission to issue a ‘completion certificate’ once they are satisfied that the person has taken the steps set out in the stop notice (at which point it will cease to have effect). The person upon whom a notice has been imposed may apply for a completion certificate at any time and the Commission must make a decision on the application within 14 days of receipt. An application must be accompanied by certain information and the Commission may revoke a completion notice if issued on the basis of inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information, which causes the stop notice to be reinstated. Paragraph 16 explains how a person may appeal against the imposition of a stop notice, or against a decision not to issue a completion certificate, and provides that any appeal will be heard by a sheriff. It also sets out the grounds for appeal in both circumstances. An appeal against a stop notice or against a decision not to issue a completion certificate must be made within 28 days of receipt of the notice or decision, and where an appeal is made, the stop notice continues to have effect unless suspended or varied on the order of the sheriff. Paragraph 17 provides that a person who does not comply with a stop notice is guilty of an offence.

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