Clause 144 - Tainted gifts and their recipients

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:15 pm ar 6 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:15, 6 Rhagfyr 2001

This brings us back to a topic that was recently under discussion. That discussion prompted the Minister to assure me that he would reconsider the matter in general, and I assume that that assurance applies as much to the Scottish provisions as it does to those in England and Wales. I am now sure that that is the case, as I see that he is nodding.

However, I am puzzled about the original wording of subsection (10)(b), and the change to bring it in line with the new provisions. I wish the Minister to explain why that difference existed in the first place. Although—acting perfectly properly—he glossed the question by saying that he is merely bringing the one in line with the other, the original Scottish wording, which we are now deleting, introduced quite a substantial difference in the way in which property was valued, for the purpose of determining the share of the property transferred. Under the original Scottish scheme, the denominator of the fraction that goes to make up the value was the consideration provided by the accused at the time that he obtained the property, whereas the English scheme referred to the value of the property at the time that it was obtained.

For once, I think that the English scheme may have been preferable, because it is unclear—especially when dealing with property that may belong to criminals—what the considerations would have been to obtain the property in the first place. However, I want to leave that point aside for the moment.

Let us assume that the property had been purchased. The English scheme puts the market value on the property, as externally assessed. The Scots were content, for a long period and apparently without difficulty, to put a value on the property based on the actual consideration that the accused provided for it. That could have profound implications on shares and valuations in property. I am interested to hear from the Minister why the Scottish system had that terminology and how it worked in practice compared with the English system.