The Police and HMRC are increasingly exercising their powers under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) to retrieve information from individuals who are not necessarily accused of a criminal offence, but who can have a legal obligation to provide information where required. Failure to comply with the Act or to provide false answers is an offence punishable by imprisonment.
If you have been contacted by either the Police (including the National Crime Agency) or HMRC for a SOCPA interview or request for material, it is in your best interests that you contact a solicitor as soon as you are able.
Free initial telephone consultation
Our highly skilled Fraud team are here to take the worry off your hands. We can provide an initial telephone consultation to see how we can assist in your case. For more information, please call us on 0808 168 5550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a Section 62 disclosure notice?
Section 62 of SOPCA outlines when a disclosure notice may be used and what it can demand. A disclosure notice may be used when it appears to the Investigating Authority that:
- There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence (as defined by the Act) has been committed.
- That someone has information relating to a matter relevant to a current investigation of an offence.
- There are reasonable grounds for believing that information which may be provided by that person in compliance with a disclosure notice is likely to be of substantial value (whether or not by itself) to that investigation.
A disclosure notice under s62 allows the prosecutor the authority to require the person subject to the notice to answer any questions or provide material about any matter relevant to their investigation. The notice may require you to:
(a) answer questions with respect to any matter relevant to the investigation;
(b) provide information with respect to any such matter as is specified in the notice;
(c) produce such documents, or documents of such descriptions, relevant to the investigation as are specified in the notice.
If an interview is requested it will be tape recorded but will not be subject to the terms of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”).
It is important for you to be aware that as it is not a PACE interview there is no legal requirement for the investigating officers to wait until a solicitor arrives for an interview to commence, and is no obligation to allow one to be present, although it is usually allowed. When s62 powers are enforced, you have no right to silence making it compulsory for you to answer any question that is asked.
When documents are required, the officer can take copies and extracts from them and ask the individual for an explanation in relation to them. This documentation can be retained for as long as is deemed necessary or until the investigation is concluded.
What happens if your answers are insufficient?
It is an offence for you having received the notice to fail to comply with its terms without a reasonable excuse and is a further offence to make either a false or misleading statement regardless of whether it was done consciously or recklessly. There isno definition of reasonable excuse in the Act. The exceptions to this are the following:
- You may not be required to answer a privileged question or produce any privileged documents
- Your lawyer may be required to provide your name and address.
- Under section 62, you may not be required to produce any excluded material (as defined by s11 of PACE).
How we can help
At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the stress and worry that being involved in a SOCPA investigation can cause and the potential long term consequences that can affect you and your family. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explain the likely outcomes and fight on your behalf. We promise to:
- Advise you throughout the entire process
- Advise you on a confidential basis of any concerns you have
- Represent you during a SOCPA interview
- Prepare and collate all required documents
- Represent you in court if necessary
- Take the worry off your hands
- Argue your case
Why choose us?
If you have been called for a SOCPA interview or request for information, our experienced Fraud solicitors are available to put forward the strongest case possible for your defence and will advise you throughout the entire process. We will ensure that you do not go through these proceedings alone.
Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides.
How to make contact
If you require any legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively you can email the Fraud team on email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Fraud Solicitors can provide advice across the country and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in Birmingham, Bedford, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, London Temple, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham and Sheffield.