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Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013

Part 5: General and supplemental

266.Paragraph 22 limits the use of fixed monetary penalties, discretionary requirements and stop notices. It explains that a fixed monetary penalty may not be imposed on a person if they are already subject to a discretionary requirement or stop notice for a breach. Additionally, if a person has had a fixed monetary penalty imposed on them for a breach, or has paid a sum to discharge liability for a fixed monetary penalty, they cannot be given a discretionary requirement or a stop notice in relation to the breach.

267.Paragraph 23 allows the Commission to withdraw a fixed penalty notice, withdraw or vary notice of a discretionary requirement and withdraw a stop notice. If a stop notice is withdrawn, this does not prevent another stop notice in respect of the same activity.

268.Paragraph 24 provides that, if someone is required under schedule 5 to make a statement as part of an investigation by the Electoral Commission, the Commission must not take account of that statement when deciding whether to impose a civil sanction on the person. The only exception is for the offence of providing false information set out in paragraph 12(3) of schedule 5.

269.Paragraph 25 stipulates that any financial penalty imposed on an unincorporated association must be paid from its own funds.

270.Paragraph 26 provides that guidance on civil sanctions published under paragraph 25 of Schedule 19C to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 has effect, with any necessary modifications, at the referendum under the Act. The Commission may prepare additional guidance as required, which they must revise where appropriate and publish.

271.Paragraph 27 enables the Commission to recover fixed monetary penalties, variable monetary penalties and non-compliance penalties as a civil debt. Any interest or financial penalty for late payment may also be recovered as a civil debt.

272.Paragraph 28 stipulates that the monetary penalties paid to the Commission as a result of the imposition of civil sanctions under schedule 6 must be paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

273.Paragraph 29 requires the Commission to report on the use of its powers under this schedule, including a list of the cases (other than those where sanctions have been successfully appealed against) in which they have imposed fixed monetary penalties, discretionary notices or stop notices; cases in which liability for a fixed monetary penalty has been accepted through payment of a sum; and cases in which an enforcement undertaking has been accepted. Sub-paragraph (2) enables the Commission to exclude information if it might be unlawful for the report to include it or might adversely affect ongoing investigations or proceedings. The report may be included in the Commission’s report under section 27, in a separate report made as soon as possible thereafter, or in a combination of the two.

274.Paragraph 30 allows the Commission to request information from procurators fiscal or constables in Scotland when exercising the powers under the schedule. It will not enable disclosure where that would breach the Data Protection Act 1998 or Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 or in relation to certain reserved enactments. It also provides that other powers of disclosure independent of this power are not affected by it.

275.Paragraph 31 gives the sheriff powers to use on appeals against civil sanctions imposed by the Commission. If a person appeals a fixed monetary penalty, the sheriff may overturn or confirm the penalty. On an appeal against a discretionary requirement, non-compliance penalty or stop notice, the sheriff may overturn, confirm or vary the sanction. The sheriff also has the same powers as the Commission as to steps that may be taken in response to such an appeal, or can remit the decision regarding the requirement or notice, or matters relating to the decision, to the Commission. On an appeal against a decision by the Commission not to issue a compliance and restoration certificate for a discretionary requirement, a completion certificate for a stop notice, or a compliance certificate for an enforcement undertaking, the sheriff may order the Commission to issue the appropriate certificate.

276.Paragraph 32 sets out definitions of words and expressions used in the schedule.

277.Part 7 lists the campaign offences for which civil sanctions may be imposed.

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