Since the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), prosecuting authorities, particularly the National Crime Agency (NCA) and HMRC, have used civil recovery proceedings to recover the alleged proceeds of crime.
The lower standard of proof in civil proceedings (balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt) has led to the authorities increasingly using civil proceedings as an alternative to criminal proceedings in instances where they either do not have the evidence to prosecute for the crime, or where a jury has acquitted someone of the alleged crime.
Our highly experienced and specialist lawyers are used to representing individuals and companies facing a full range of restraint, freezing and civil recovery proceedings, including:
- Freezing and restraint orders
- Disclosure orders
- Cash seizure and forfeiture
- Contempt proceedings for non-compliance
- Unexplained Wealth Orders
- Receivership Orders
We understand the impact that such orders and proceedings can have and the need for fast and effective representation. We provide swift advice and strategic guidance to help resolve proceedings through negotiation if possible. Where this is not possible, our lawyers will ensure the best possible advice and preparation to contest the proceedings in court. We also provide realistic and practical advice to help minimise the reputational and financial damage caused by such proceedings.
We also know that civil proceedings may take place in circumstances where criminal proceedings are still a real possibility, and our experienced lawyers can ensure that strategic advice is given to safeguard our clients’ position against increasing the risk of criminal prosecution.
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. The Chambers & Partners guide lists Stoke Partnership as aBand 3 for POCA Work and Asset Forfeiture.
We represent a client being investigated by the NCA in relation to a substantial property portfolio valued in excess of £30 million which has built up over a period of 30 years. The NCA initiated civil recovery proceedings for a significant proportion of our client’s assets.