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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Disclosure orders
Section 391: Disclosure orders

541.Under subsection (1), the Lord Advocate may apply to the High Court for a disclosure order in respect of a confiscation investigation and the Scottish Ministers may apply to the Court of Session for a disclosure order in respect of a civil recovery investigation. Because of the necessarily invasive nature of such an order, it is not thought appropriate that such a power should be available for investigations into money laundering offences, although comparable powers exist in the Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to terrorist offences as well as terrorist funding.

542.Once a disclosure order has been made, the Lord Advocate or the Scottish Ministers may use the extensive powers set out in subsection (4) throughout the relevant 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 Lord Advocate or the Scottish Ministers continuing powers for the purposes of the relevant 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 392: Requirements for making of disclosure order

543.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 the High Court or the Court of Session 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 393: Offences

544.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 making a false or misleading statement.

Section 394: Statements

545.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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