Some HMRC penalties are ‘criminal’ in nature for the purposes of Article 6. This classification as ‘criminal’ is for the purposes of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) only. It does not make them criminal for domestic purposes. They remain civil penalties. The term ‘criminal’ is used in this context throughout this section of the Compliance Handbook.

Whether a penalty is considered to be ‘criminal’ or not depends on the following three criteria which are often referred to as the ‘Engel Criteria’ following the case of Engel v. Netherlands (No. 1) (1976) (App 5100/71)

(1)The domestic classification of the offence.

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