Restraint, confiscation & civil recovery

We have expertise across all levels of call in this complex and constantly evolving area of law. Our members have appeared in some of the leading cases in the field.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 gave law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies far-reaching powers to restrain and confiscate money and other assets they believe represent the proceeds of criminal activity.

We regularly act on behalf of the agencies exercising those powers as well as the individuals and corporations subject to them. This may be in the context of criminal confiscation proceedings, which follow a conviction for any crime in which a person secures a benefit. We have the depth and breadth of experience to deal with every aspect of these proceedings, including search and seizure orders and restraint and receivership applications.

In the absence of a relevant criminal conviction, prosecutorial agencies may seek to recover funds by instituting civil recovery proceedings in the High Court. Recovery is contingent upon a finding, on the balance of probabilities, that criminal activity has taken place and that the funds sought to be recovered are the proceeds of such activity. We initiate and defend applications for recovery and deal with any ancillary applications for freezing orders or appointments of interim receivers in order to preserve funds for recovery at the end of proceedings.

We also act for any third parties who find themselves affected by any orders made in the course of confiscation or recovery proceedings.

Simon Farrell QC is author of “The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002” (Butterworths 2003) and Ben Watson is a contributor to “Owen Smith and Bodnar on Asset Recovery: Criminal Confiscation and Civil Recovery” (Butterworths 2004; 2nd Edition 2007).