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Enterprise Act 2002

Section 230: Notice to OFT of intended prosecution

574.This section will apply if a local weights and measures authority (ie trading standards department) in England and Wales intends to start proceedings for an offence under an enactment or subordinate legislation which the Secretary of State has specified for the purposes of this section (subsection (1)).

575.The authority must give the OFT notice of its intention to start proceedings, together with a summary of the facts on which the charges are to be founded (subsection (2)). The authority must not start proceedings until the earlier of the end of 14 days from giving the notice or the day the OFT notifies the authority that it has received the notice and the summary of the facts (subsection (3)). The authority must also notify the OFT of the outcome of the proceedings (subsection (4)).

576.This section reflects the existing requirements about notices of intended prosecution in section 130 of the FTA 1973 which relates to offences under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 and the Timeshare Act 1992. The Department’s intention is to list in the order under section 230 all the legislation providing for criminal offences which will be included in the legislation specified in orders made under sections 211 and 212 in relation to domestic and Community infringements. The purpose is to reinforce the OFT’s co‑ordination role in respect of the legislation to which this Part applies. For example, the OFT could inform one authority that another is prosecuting or that an enforcement order has been granted. This may lead the authority to decide it is not necessary to prosecute. Proceedings will not however be invalid simply by virtue of the fact that the prosecuting authority has not given the OFT the required notice of intended prosecution.

577.This section does not apply in relation to Scotland, where all criminal prosecutions are brought by the Procurator Fiscal, or to Northern Ireland where public law enforcement of consumer protection legislation rests with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

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