On 25th June, the Law Commission has a statutory function is to keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reform where it is needed. The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the law is fair, modern, simple, and cost effective. In this report the areas covered include –
- the law on confiscation of criminal assets in Part 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA): it has been suggested that there are pressing problems with the law, including the irregular compensation of victims in confiscation proceedings; the frequent imposition of unrealistic confiscation orders; the ineffective incentives and sanctions of the confiscation regime; the interplay between civil and criminal investigations under POCA, the complexity of the relevant legislative provisions and related case law; the role of restraint and the insufficient enforcement powers of magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts. This project begun in August 2018 will evaluate these problems and formulate proposals for reform;
- AML – the project will focus on the consent regime found in POCA whilst being mindful of the impact any recommendations may have on the Terrorism Act 2000. Among the problems in the current law are the defensive reporting, the sheer number of SAR which are submitted to the NCA, and the relatively low intelligence value of many of the SAR. The Law Commission will publish a consultation paper in June, and hold a symposium during a public consultation in July, with the intention to publish a final report before the end of 2018; and
- Search warrants – this project began in December 2016 at the request of the Home Office and following comments made by senior members of the judiciary suggesting that the law governing search warrants in criminal investigations is overly complex, uncertain and liable to give rise to challenges. It published a consultation paper in May 2018, and will hold a public consultation through to July. It intends to publish a final report and recommendations by the end of 2018.