Civil Recovery and Forfeiture

Knowing what can happen

In some circumstances the proceeds of crime can be sought without a prior conviction for specific criminal conduct. Property might have suspected criminal origins, which may or may not have been subject to a criminal trial, and this suspicion can be used to investigate and seize such property. The National Crime Agency (NCA) is the primary agency responsible for issuing and investigating recovery proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) but HM Treasury, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office also have POCA powers.

Any of these agencies can commence proceedings in the High Court against any person they believe holds property obtained through unlawful conduct. This property does not need to be situated in the UK and it can take any form, including money, real estate, jewellery or cars. It also does not need to be in the respondent’s possession, meaning the agency can seek to recover property which has been passed on to family and friends. Usually, the NCA or other agency issuing proceedings will apply for an interim receiving order, effectively a property freezing order, to prevent the respondent disposing of or diminishing the value of their assets.

Bright Line Law are experienced in civil recovery matters. Our team have advised on each stage of the process, from investigation to seizure and forfeiture. We combine this experience with extensive criminal law knowledge to understand the cause of suspicion and inform our approach. An example of Bright Line Law’s expertise in this area is a recent case: our team provided advice and representation on a successful appeal of a cash forfeiture matter.

If you have questions about how financial laws operate in the commercial context, or are in need of specialist advice or representation, please contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 3709 9470.Email