“Market-leading defence practice handling the full spectrum of POCA and asset forfeiture matters.”
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) provides a broad range of powers to the police (and other law enforcement authorities) to block, freeze, restrain, or seize assets on the basis of their connection with alleged offences or offenders. These powers fall broadly into two categories, criminal confiscation and civil recovery.
Confiscation under POCA is aimed at making orders against convicted offenders to pay a sum equivalent to the benefit they have obtained from crime. To make this more effective, POCA also enables the Crown Court to make a Restraint Order over a suspect’s available assets, and/or to appoint receivers to manage those assets. Importantly, the definitions of benefit and assets under this part of POCA are extremely broad, which means that suspects and third parties can be at risk of losing their homes, bank accounts, and other assets, even those with no connection to crime.
Civil recovery under POCA is a system for seizing and forfeiting assets on the basis that they are or represent the proceeds of crime (without a conviction), and includes a system at the magistrates’ court dealing with cash (again very broadly defined, for instance to include cheques) either on that basis, or because it is intended for use in crime.
BCL provides expert advice to individuals and businesses whose assets are threatened by these regimes, including third parties in possession of cash or other assets under threat. In many cases there will also be a need for advice on the related areas of Money Laundering and/or Anti-Money Laundering.