Amjid Jabbar, Partner at Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, comments in The Law Society Gazette following the recent Home Affairs select committee report on confiscation orders and recovering the proceeds of crime.

“Non-payment of confiscation orders for proceeds of crime should be made a criminal offence, an influential group of MPs said today – and no convicted offender should be allowed to leave prison without satisfying their confiscation order.

The Home Affairs select committee also calls for specialist courts to be established to combat what it says is the current lack of interest in confiscation orders among prosecutors and judges.

The government claws back only 26p out of every £100 of identified criminal proceeds, the National Audit Office reported in December 2013. In a progress report more than two years later, the watchdog said improvements in collecting confiscated income had not been enough to reduce existing debt…

Amjid Jabbar, a partner at criminal defence litigation practice Stokoe Partnership Solicitors in London, said the confiscation process, particularly in complex cases, could take months, if not years. ‘The idea that people should be held in custody until they pay the order off does not take into account the fact that many orders are made after the defendant has been released,’ he added.

‘There needs to be a new realism, an attempt to make realistic orders, which defendants are encouraged to pay and then revisit using the extensive powers available.’

The committee, which described London as a ‘welcome mat’ for money-launderers, recommends that the government set up a dedicated, specialist court to hear complex cases featuring cross-border financial transactions, use of corporate vehicles or very high-value proceeds…”

Read the full article on The Law Society Gazette website here.