Increasingly, the police and other law enforcement agencies (such as the NCA and HMRC) have used powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize cash on the basis of a reasonable suspicion that it may have come from criminal conduct.
Often the reason for the suspicion will be no more than the value of the cash. Once cash has been seized, the authorities can apply to the Magistrates’ Court to detain the cash for up to 2 years or for the cash to be forfeited unless the owner can prove that it came from a lawful and legitimate source.
Our lawyers are very experienced in successfully recovering cash that has been seized under these powers, and in resisting applications for forfeiture (and appealing forfeiture orders which have been made), ranging from seizures of £5,000 to £5,000,000. We regularly act for individuals and corporate clients who have had property seized from them by the authorities.
Our specialist team is able to provide emergency advice and assistance as soon as a seizure is made. It is important that a proactive approach is taken from the outset to ensure that the monies are returned as soon as possible. It is also essential to remember these proceedings can run alongside, or be a precursor to, criminal proceedings. Our specialist lawyers are experts in defending criminal proceedings and can provide a comprehensive service in such cases.
The Firm’s expertise in serious crime, fraud and white-collar crime is recognised by both of the UK’s leading legal directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Chambers & Partners guide lists Stoke Partnership as a noted firm for POCA and asset forfeiture work.