Key statutes

  • Search and Surveillance Act 2012
  • Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995
  • Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

Key secondary legislation

  • Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples: Approved Agency and Buccal Sample Device) Notice 2003
  • Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Regulations 2004
  • Serious Fraud Office Act (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 1990

Information/links to recent or currently underway reviews

Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 - the Law Commission undertook a comprehensive review of the Act to determine whether the current legislation is fit for purpose in keeping pace with developments in forensic science, international best practice, and public attitudes. The report was released(external link) in November 2020 and concluded that particularly in relation to the use of DNA in criminal investigations, the Act was not fit for purpose and new legislation was required.

The Ministry supported the delivery of the Government response to the report. In the response, the Government accepted the conclusion that the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 is no longer fit for purpose and that the regime lacks adequate independent oversight and governance structures. The Government also accepted the recommendation for a new Act for the DNA regime and the recommendation to establish an independent oversight body. The scope and timing of this work has not been set.

Forward work

The Ministry of Justice is responding to the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks on Christchurch Mosques, which recommended a review of all counter-terrorism legislation. As part of this response, the Government is reviewing the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, and will also consider recommendations made in the joint 2016/17 joint review of the Act by the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice.