Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation & Asset Recovery

25 Bedford Row barristers are regarded as some of the leading experts in the confiscation of assets under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990, Drug Trafficking Act 1994, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA).

We have vast experience in defending applications for freezing assets, restraint orders and confiscation orders and orders for asset forfeiture, as well as a strong track record of securing the return of a wide variety of assets under even the most challenging circumstances.

If you have had assets seized or frozen by a court, police, accredited financial investigator, customs, HMRC, Serious Fraud Office (SFO), UK Border Agency or other government authority, it may be possible to secure the return of those assets with the right legal advice and representation

Our barristers have specific experience with some of the most complex and serious proceedings, including in relation to:

  • Confiscation of assets
  • Cash forfeiture
  • Money laundering
  • Asset recovery
  • Cash seizure
  • Third party confiscation
  • Restraint Orders
  • Freezing Orders
  • Account Freezing Orders
  • Account Forfeiture Orders
  • Unexplained Wealth Orders

Expert Barristers  are committed to helping clients regain access to their assets and we offer extensive expertise in all restraint order matters, including drafting applications for variation and discharge, court appearances, appeals, dealing with repatriation orders and disclosure orders, and advising on the rights of third parties, company directors, spouses and partners.

Members of 25 Bedford Row work tirelessly to secure the best outcome for you in what can be stressful, complex and demanding proceedings. With the experience and judgement to know the best route to challenge and settlement.   We offer pragmatic and down-to-earth advice in plain English to get the best result for you.

Barristers  work with many leading law firms and some of our members also have direct access accreditation, allowing them  to  take instruction directly from the public where the case is suitable (see direct access).

For help with Proceeds of Crime Act confiscations and asset recovery, please call 020 7067 1500 or use the contact form on the right and we will respond promptly.

Our Proceeds of Crime Act defence & asset recovery services

Confiscation Proceedings

Members of Chambers are frequently acting in investigations ranging from the seizure of personal papers and effects up to the seizure of individual cash sums in excess of £1 million.

We have also acted in lengthy and substantial civil forfeiture proceedings where State/ Government agencies have sought to gain possession of property without any determination as to the guilt or innocence of the owner.

Cash seizure

POCA gives the powers to seize cash derived from or intended for use in crime, and to secure its forfeiture in magistrates' court proceedings.

No conviction is required for the forfeiture of the cash to be ordered; cash forfeiture proceedings are civil proceedings and the civil standard of proof applies.

We have extensive experience in challenging seizures of cash related to all types of criminal enquiry, including tax enquiries, having been able to secure the return of substantial sums for clients both while tax investigations are ongoing and following prosecutions for tax evasion. 

Cash forfeiture

We have frequently been involved in securing successful outcomes in applications for forfeiture of cash seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This work calls for a high level of skill and judgment and a delicate tactical touch when faced with parallel criminal and civil investigations.

Money laundering

Our barristers regularly represent a wide range of clients, including interested third parties, in relation to money laundering offences, including in relation to the freezing or seizure of cash and other assets suspected of involvement in money laundering.

Why should I use 25 Bedford Row for Proceeds of Crime Act Proceedings & Recovery of Assets?

25 Bedford Row houses a group of highly experienced specialists who defend individuals in the full range of restraint, confiscation and cash seizure and recovery proceedings both at first instance and at appellate level.

Our top tier fraud, corporate crime and serious organised crime practice means we are experienced in cases of the highest value and complexity, often involving multiple jurisdictions.  

Members of Chambers also lecture and write extensively on legal and practice developments in this area and via our chambers shared learning initiatives we ensure that every member of 25 Bedford Row is fully adept to deal with POCA proceedings in every case at every level.   

We recognise that when facing confiscation proceedings, you often stand to lose everything. Members of 25 Bedford Row are committed to fighting hard in every case of this type from the smaller to the most difficult and complex. Lower value cases are treated with the same level of importance at 25 Bedford Row. 

We have a reputation for preparing cases meticulously ensuring that every detailed is grasped, while also offering an approachable and down-to-earth manner to deliver practical, realistic advice to our clients.

Common questions about POCA confiscations & asset recovery

When can a Confiscation Order be made?

Confiscation Orders can be made following conviction for a crime. The court has the powers to confiscate from convicted criminal defendants, their benefit from crime.

Confiscation Orders are specified by the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

How much can the court take with a Confiscation Order?

The purpose of confiscation proceedings is to recover the financial benefit that the offender has obtained from criminal conduct. The court calculates the value of that benefit and orders the offender to pay an equivalent sum (or less where a lower sum is available for confiscation).

There is no upper limit or lower limit for how much can be seized with a Confiscation Order.

What proof is needed for the confiscation of assets?

Proceedings are conducted according to the civil standard of proof, i.e. on the balance of probabilities. 

In certain circumstances the court is empowered to assume that the defendant’s assets, income and expenditure during the period of six years before proceedings were brought, have been derived from criminal conduct and to calculate the confiscation order accordingly. 

This means there can often be significant room for dispute over what assets are truly eligible for confiscation, providing the opportunity for successful challenges or to negotiate a settlement to your advantage.

When can police or customs officers seize cash?

Part III of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 introduced a new power for police and Customs officers to seize cash discovered on import or export which is reasonably suspected of being derived from or intended for use in drug trafficking.

An application may subsequently be made in a magistrates’ court for the forfeiture of the cash. No conviction is required for the forfeiture of the cash to be ordered; cash forfeiture proceedings are civil proceedings and the civil standard of proof applies.

These provisions were later consolidated into Part II of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994, which applies on a UK-wide basis.

What is considered money laundering?

Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legitimate origin, so that they can be retained permanently or recycled into further criminal enterprises.

It was first criminalised in the United Kingdom in respect of the proceeds of drug trafficking, by means of an offence in the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986. Further drug money laundering offences were subsequently enacted, together with separate offences relating to the proceeds of other criminal conduct and terrorist funds.

There are five sets of money laundering offences in force, each applying to a different range of offences and/or jurisdictions.

Contact us about Proceeds of Crime Act defence & Asset Recovery

For expert advice and representation in all matters related to the Proceeds of Crime Act and asset recovery, please call 020 7067 1500 or use the contact form below and we will respond promptly.

Full of barristers with a good range of experience, whether they be juniors dealing with cash seizure and detention, or silks handling the most complex cases

Chambers UK


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