According to Global Investigations Review enforcement statistics, the average amount in account freezing orders and account forfeitures obtained by HM Revenue and Customs has more than doubled in the last four years. BCL partner John Binns has been quoted in GIR’s article, discussing HMRC’s increased interest toward the higher-value cases of law enforcement.
Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Global Investigations Review website.
”The average size of an account freezing order obtained by HM Revenue and Customs has risen from £121,000 in the 2018 financial year to £359,000 in the most recent financial year, while the average size of an account forfeiture is now £484,000 – up from £82,000 four years ago. The total amount of frozen and forfeited funds has also been rising year on year.
…John Binns at BCL said he is concerned that as the value of freezing and forfeiture applications continues to rise, local magistrates’ courts may not be the most appropriate venue to handle them because of the complexity of the cases.
Magistrates’ courts in the UK are mostly staffed by volunteer lay magistrates who typically deal with relatively minor civil and criminal cases. Crimes carrying a potential prison sentence of one year or more are dealt with by crown courts where cases are adjudicated by professional judges. High-value civil disputes, meanwhile, are handled by the High Court of England and Wales.
“I would question why there is no upper limit [for civil freezing and forfeiture applications], for example, if over one million [pounds] it should go to the high court, as a magistrates’ court is not always best placed to deal with them,” Binns said.”
*This article was first published by Global Investigations Review on 27 July 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Global Investigations Review website.
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