The right to enjoyment of property (FOI)
The right to enjoyment of property (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey on behalf of the States of Jersey Police and published on 31 July 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
The Right to Enjoyment of Property is a fundamental right guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 1 of Protocol 1).
Under what circumstances will the States of Jersey Police interfere with that right directly or interfere a proprietary right to money such as that lent to a financial institution repayable on demand (eg a bank account)?
What safeguards are in place to ensure that where this right is interfered with it is done only as permitted by the Convention?
What is the maximum period that a person can be denied the right to enjoyment of their property without a criminal charge being laid?
What compensation arrangements are made where as a result of prolonged investigations which do not result in a charge?
What safeguards are in place to protect the public from the financial liability arising from the malicious freezing of bank accounts by Police Officers?
Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000 states the following, “Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law”. One such example would be an investigation in relation to the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 1999.
Police Officers would need to be satisfied and be able to demonstrate to a court of law that their actions were both necessary and proportionate.
There is no maximum time limit.
The Police do not freeze bank accounts, if the Police have indicated to the financial institute that they do not consent to an account being operated normally as they are suspicious about the funds, then this is a decision for that business to make. They can either block the account from operating normally or continue to transact. If they continue to transact whilst there is a suspicion regarding the funds, they may not have a defence against a potential money laundering crime.
Any member of the public who feels aggrieved by any action taken, should consider speaking to a legal advisor who can then fully explain the process to be followed when challenging these decisions by both the Police and the financial institute.