The Home Office’s Serious Crime Act and the Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Justice and Courts Act recently received Royal Assent; this update includes operational guidance about each piece of legislation. 

Criminal Justice and Courts Act

Please find attached operational guidance and advice about the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. A copy of these documents can be found here. The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015. Across its five parts the Act:
 
  • introduces new criminal offences;  
  • amends the sentencing and release arrangements for convicted offenders; and
  • amongst other things, delivers the Government’s package of judicial review reforms.  
These circulars provide operational guidance and advice about provisions in the Act that are being commenced on or before 13 April 2015 and which have an operational impact that stakeholders need to be aware of. The content of the Act will be of particular interest to police forces, prosecutors, and the judiciary. More information about which provisions are being commenced can be found in the attached circulars and on the website.
   

Serious Crime Act

Please also find attached a circular detailing the provisions in the Serious Crime Act 2015 that will come into force on either the 3 May or the 1 June 2015. The Serious Crime Act received Royal Assent on 3 March.
 

The following provisions come into force on 3 May:

 
  • Amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990, including the new offence designed to ensure that sentences for serious attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause;
  • The new offence targeting people who knowingly participate in an organised crime group;
  • The extension of the scope of Serious Crime Prevention Orders;
  • New powers to seize, detain and destroy chemical substances suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs; and
  • The new offence of possessing ‘paedophile manuals’.
The following provisions come into force on 1 June:
 
  • Amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
  • Extension of the scope of gang injunctions;
  • The new offence of unauthorised possession of a knife or other offensive weapon in prison.
Amongst other things these provisions amend the criminal law, including by creating new offences, and strengthen civil preventative orders and, as such, will be of particular interest to police forces, prosecutors, the judiciary and, in the case of the changes to gang injunctions, to local authorities.
 

Copies of both Acts can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/