HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the department of the UK Government with primary responsibility for enforcement of export controls, has recently submitted written evidence to an inquiry being conducted by the UK Committees on Arms Export Controls. The written evidence (available here) provides a helpful summary of HMRC’s approach to export controls enforcement.

The written evidence includes details on:

  • Factors influencing whether criminal prosecution or another type of enforcement will be pursued (e.g. awareness raising, warning letters, compound penalties or seizures).
  • How compound penalty figures are determined.
  • Interactions between HMRC and the Crown Prosecution Service.
  • HMRC’s use of “preliminary assessments” of potential breaches.
  • Challenges of enforcing brokering offences where there is a limited UK footprint of the companies involved.
  • Challenges of enforcing suspected end-use / end-user violations.
  • Replacement of SPIRE, the UK’s online export licensing system, with the new LITE system (which is expected to go live by January 2020).

The UK Export Control Joint Unit has also submitted written evidence for the same inquiry (available here).

Author: Ross L. Denton