Clause 7 - Confiscation of assets

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:15 am ar 9 Medi 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:15, 9 Medi 2014

The shadow Minister drags me back to my previous life as a tax adviser, where I argued at length with an inspector of taxes whether “shall” was mandatory. It was an interesting debate that I will not share with the Committee. There is some debate around “shall” and many in law consider “shall” is mandatory [ Interruption. ] As the Whip says from a sedentary position, in English as well.

The provision makes it clear that the court must give reasons if it makes an order. We encourage courts to make an order wherever possible. That is certainly the message to come out of the Committee: we expect the courts, where possible, to impose a reparation order on someone who is found guilty as part of a confiscation hearing. Assets must be available if that is to be possible.

The shadow Minister asked whether a victim who was not part of the case can be covered by a reparation order. A reparation order follows a conviction. Inevitably, it can be given only where the court has been persuaded that the defendant committed a slavery and trafficking offence against the victim. Therefore, if someone is a victim of a defendant who has been found guilty, and the jury has been convinced of that, a reparation order can be applied. If there is another victim who has not been through the court process and the defendant has not been found guilty of offences against that victim, I do not see how the reparation order could be applied. We will look at that to see if there are possible ways to do so.