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Book reviews

16 August 10

Reviews of Money Laundering (Brown); Nature Conservation Law (Reid)

by Charles Stoddart, Alastair McKie

Money Laundering

Alastair N Brown

PUBLISHER: W GREEN

ISBN: 9780414014459

PRICE: £80

Hume and Alison did not really contemplate the proceeds of crime, beyond mentioning the escheat of moveables which was not abolished until 1949. Indeed, the idea that such proceeds could often pass across international borders (through the financial systems of the world) was not one which domestic criminal authorities spent much time worrying about, at least until the advent of drug dealing and organised crime.

The detection of crime was the area to which most investigative resources were devoted; rarely were serious efforts made to trace funds emanating from their commission and inhibit their use. How times have changed: now we have a panoply of international, European and domestic instruments enacted to try to ensure that the criminal cannot profit from their ill-gotten gains.

Dr Alastair Brown has (once more) addressed an unmet need among professionals in the criminal justice and financial sector with the publication of his useful and comprehensive study of legislative attempts to combat money laundering: the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (drawn from the EC Money Laundering Directive 2005) and the relative sections of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as consequently amended.

While all the black-letter law is to be found in the appendices, the five chapters themselves are where the discussion is centred, two of them dealing with the various offences of a substantive and regulatory nature and two more dealing with failing to disclose and investigatory offences, including “tipping off”.

But the context for all this is set out in an introductory chapter, taking the reader through the nature, strategy and development of the law on money laundering, with the European dimension at its core.

This exercise clearly puts to rest any idea that Scottish criminal law is not the province of the European Union, whatever the position before or after the Lisbon Treaty.

All solicitors (not just those who practise criminal law) ought to be aware of their compliance obligations, particularly in respect of new clients, but this book will provide them (and their staff members) with the detail often needed to understand office practices.

But it deserves and demands a much wider readership than just the legal profession; the author’s mastery of the subject matter requires no less.

  • Charles N Stoddart

Nature Conservation Law: 3rd edition

Colin T Reid

PUBLISHER: W GREEN

ISBN: 9780414016958

PRICE: £55

The primary aim of this updated leading textbook is to explain the practical application of the myriad of UK-wide legislation and case law that comprises “nature conservation law”.

It explains the origins and tensions within this broad topic together with a detailed assessment of the bodies responsible for nature conservation, protection of flora and fauna (including exploitation), habitat conservation and the increasing influence of European and international law.

It also explains the relationship between a number of important statutory controls, such as planning and control of pollution, and nature conservation.

It is an extremely well-written, researched and readable work which builds upon the second edition and delivers important updates focusing on the continued influence of European law and the divergence in legal systems between England and Scotland post-devolution.

Of particular note is the commentary on legislation following the judgment of the ECJ in Commission v UK (Case C-6/04) (2005), which has required the UK Government through amendments to the Habitat Regulations 1994 to address a number of failures of transposition, including assessment of land-use plans, redrawing the balance in relation to “incidental result” defence, and implementation of the Habitats Directive in offshore marine areas.

There is also a useful explanation of the implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive in regard to protections given to water damage, land damage, and damage to protected flora and fauna. The far-reaching implications of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 are also considered.

While the scope of the topic is broad, the book skilfully focuses on those areas which will be most relevant to the legal practitioner.

It makes the occasional acute observation on the social policy context of this fascinating topic, adding perspective. It is indexed and fully supported by extensive footnotes that provide reference to further research material.

This is a work of a considerable scholar, and an essential “black letter” textbook for all members of the legal profession who specialise in or advise on development in the town, country or marine environment.

  • Alastair McKie, Anderson Strathern LLP

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