Clause 256 - Restriction on proceedings and remedies

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:45 pm ar 18 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:45, 18 Rhagfyr 2001

Let us see the degree to which I can satisfy the hon. Gentleman. Subsection (2) provides that any court in which other proceedings are pending in respect of property subject to an interim receiving order may stay proceedings or impose its own terms on how those proceedings should continue. Before exercising that power, the court must give the enforcement authority and the interim receiver the right to be heard. As the hon. Gentleman said, the amendment would give any other party affected by the proceedings the right to be heard. The clause is intended to cover the situation where a civil recovery procedure and other proceedings are ongoing in respect of the same property. In such circumstances, the parties to the other proceedings will have had an automatic right to be heard, before the court exercises any power conferred under subsection (2) to stay the proceedings or to allow them to continue. We envisaged that those parties would include the respondent to civil recovery proceedings, as the respondent will be holding the property concerned. Those parties might also include holders of associated property, who may, for example, hold an interest in the property, subject to the proceedings.

In addition, clause 256(3) will give the enforcement authority and the interim receiver the right to be heard before the court takes its decision. The amendment would require the court to give any other party affected by either set of proceedings a right to be heard. It appears that the main people affected by either set of proceedings already have the right to be heard by the court, before it exercises any powers under clause 265(2). We are not sure, therefore, that the amendment is needed. However, the hon. Gentleman has raised a point that we will consider further, to see whether there are any affected parties who should have the opportunity to be heard by the court but who currently have no right to be heard. If, as a result of that process, we identify any gap, we will table an amendment on Report to cover it. With that assurance, I invite the hon. Gentleman to consider withdrawing his amendment.