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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Disclosure orders
Section 357: Disclosure orders

516.Under subsection (1), only the Director may apply to a judge for a disclosure order. It is available in respect of a confiscation and a civil recovery investigation but not a money laundering investigation. Owing to the necessarily invasive nature of the disclosure order, it is thought appropriate to limit the order’s use to the Director. Since the Director will not have a role in the investigation of money laundering offences, it is a consequence that the disclosure order will not be available for use in money laundering investigations. Furthermore, the Director can only apply for a disclosure order in respect of his own investigations (subsection 3). He cannot use this power on behalf of law enforcement authorities in respect of investigations they are carrying out and in which the Director is not otherwise involved. However, law enforcement authorities can transfer entire confiscation investigations to the Director if this is thought necessary.

517.Once a disclosure order has been made, the Director may use the extensive powers set out in subsection (4) throughout the investigation. Thus, unlike the other orders covered by this Part which have to be applied for separately on each occasion, a disclosure order gives the Director continuing powers for the purposes of the investigation. A person may require that evidence of the authority to exercise disclosure powers be provided. Where this happens, it is envisaged that a copy of the disclosure order will be given to the person.

Section 358: Requirements for making of disclosure order

518.Because of their intrusive nature, it is not anticipated that disclosure orders will be sought unless other powers, such as production orders, have already been sought or would demonstrably not suffice to enable the required information to be obtained. Indeed, this would be one of the points a judge would be expected to consider as part of his consideration of the proportionality test which would apply by virtue of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Section 359: Offences

519.As the disclosure order obliges persons to comply with certain requirements, sanctions to compel such compliance are required. There is a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a level 5 fine (currently £5000) for non-compliance and two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine for knowingly or recklessly makes a false or misleading statement.

Section 360: Statements

520.As part of the Government’s response to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Saunders v UK, Schedule 3 to the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 amended a number of compulsory disclosure powers in order to prevent a statement obtained under compulsion from a person from being used to incriminate him (subject to exceptions). Similar provision is made in this section.

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