The purpose of Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was to confiscate and / or recover the proceeds from crime. Whilst confiscation proceedings are instituted after a conviction in the criminal courts, civil recovery proceedings are concerned with the proceeds of crime from unconvicted defendants through the civil courts. That means that there is no jury and the burden of proof is on the lower civil standard of the ‘balance of probabilities’ as opposed to ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ in the criminal courts.
If you are facing civil recovery proceedings, it is important that you make urgent contact with expert lawyers with relevant experience. We have a team of white-collar crime who work together with civil litigation solicitors, which means that we can provide you with expert advice on this niche area of law. At Eldwick Law we understand the immediate practical difficulties that civil recovery and freezing orders cause. We have a wealth of practical experience in defending individuals who are in these situations and we are here to offer our expert advice and support.
It is important to understand that civil recovery proceedings are only concerned with whether the property is recoverable property for the purposes of ss.242 and 243 of the Proceeds of Crime Act. The question for the courts is whether the property was obtained through unlawful conduct. There is no need to establish that a Respondent had knowledge or was involved in a crime, but simply whether the property is ‘recoverable’.
Civil recovery proceedings are commenced under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and start with the National Crime Agency making an application for a Property Freezing Order. That application is made ex-parte and will essentially ‘freeze’ the Respondent’s bank account and prevent their assets. The National Crime Agency are able to recover any property, including (but not limited to) money in bank accounts, vehicles and houses.
These proceedings often affect family members, friends and associates who may be subject to a disclosure order compelling them to disclose information and / or attend an interview with investigating officers to provide information on how the property in question was obtained by a Respondent. We are able to offer expert advice and support and aim to minimize disruption during these processes.
If you are facing civil recovery proceedings, contact our expert team of solicitors today.