Skip to main content

Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill completes passage through Parliament

15 March 2022

A busy House of Lords chamber with members filling the benches

Members of the Lords completed their detailed check (committee stage) and all other stages of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill on Monday 14 March.


The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill seeks to establish a register of overseas entities and their beneficial owners, amend financial sanctions law and reform the UK’s Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) to empower criminal investigators.

Bill fast-tracked 

The bill was fast-tracked in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has now become an Act of Parliament after receiving Royal Assent.

In response to concerns raised by members earlier in the passage of the bill, government amendments were made on topics including detailing sanctions that owners of property impacted by the bill may be subject to.

The government also agreed to a change to remove the ability for the Secretary of State to exempt an individual from the bill’s provisions on the basis of the economic wellbeing of the UK, and committed to reviewing the effectiveness of the measures in the bill before a second Economic Crime Bill is introduced.

Line by line examination 

Committee stage is a chance for line by line examination of the bill.

Proposed changes

Members speaking at committee stage put forward amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • preventing sanctioned individuals from selling or transferring their funds and economic resources, or moving them outside of the UK

  • where applications for registration as an overseas entity discloses that a registrable beneficial owner is a trustee, it must include additional information about the trust

  • registrable beneficial owners also having to provide any
    former names

  • requiring overseas entities to disclose the beneficial owners
    of UK property which they hold

  • establishing a whistleblower office to receive and protect whistleblowing reports

  • sharing of information by HMRC in connection with offences.

Other stages completed

Following the completion of committee stage, report stage and third reading also took place. The Bill then went back to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. These were agreed to.

As both Houses agreed on the text of the bill it had its final stage of Royal Assent at the end of the sitting and is now an Act of Parliament (law). 

Catch up

What's happened so far?

Second reading: Wednesday 9 March

Members discussed the main issues in the bill during the second reading debate. Subjects include:

  • Companies House reform
  • time taken to introduce this and the upcoming Economic Crime Bill that will follow  
  • the number of sanctions issued since the Russian invasion of Ukraine 
  • reducing the transition period for people selling property 
  • enforcement of the new law and resourcing 
  • working with Commonwealth countries on similar measures. 

Members speaking 

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative), Minister of State in the Home Office, opened the debate.

Members speaking included: 

  • Lord Carlile of Berriew (Crossbench), chair of the Lloyd's of London Enforcement Board 

  • Lord Eatwell (Labour), Emeritus Professor of Financial Policy, University of Cambridge

  • Lord Garnier (Conservative), member of the Trans-Atlantic Response to Illicit Finance taskforce, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute

  • Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrats), member of the Social Market Foundation Policy Advisory Board. 

Lord Callanan (Conservative), Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, responded on behalf of the government.

Watch and read the debate 

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: House of Lords/Roger Harris