If you find yourself involved in civil asset recovery proceedings, or if you are served with a Property Freezing Order, you require expert legal advice. As a barrister with 15 years’ experience in both civil and criminal law, I can provide swift, strong, sensible representation, so you retain ownership of your property. I can advise throughout civil recovery proceedings, from preparing for litigation to negotiating with investigating authorities such as the National Crime Agency (NCA).
I have considerable technical experience in recovery proceedings in both the criminal and civil courts. This is of particular relevance as, while civil recovery proceedings are concerned with an individual’s assets, there may be underlying allegations that these were acquired as a result of unlawful conduct. I am committed to providing clients with the most robust defence possible through my skill, knowledge, and determination, ruthlessly developing a top-level strategy for you to ensure the best outcome in any case.
What is civil recovery?
Civil recovery, created by the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002, is a type of non-conviction-based forfeiture in which the High Court may make a recovery order to enable assets obtained through unlawful conduct to be seized. This method is increasingly used as an alternative to prosecutions. The process is not concerned with establishing guilt or innocence as such, rather establishing whether particular property is part of or generated from the proceeds of criminal activity. Therefore, the action is against the property rather than the person; therefore, your assets may be subject to civil recovery even though you were not involved in criminal activity.
How does the Court determine an application for civil recovery?
Under section 241(3)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Court must establish, on the balance of probabilities, whether assets and/or property has been obtained through criminal conduct. If the answer is yes, then the property becomes recoverable and a Civil Recovery Order will be made unless any of the conditions in section 266(4) (relating to England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or (5) (relating to Scotland) are met, and it would not be just and equitable to do so.
In England and Wales, the conditions include:
- the Respondent obtained the recoverable property in good faith,
- the Respondent took steps after obtaining the aforementioned property which they would not have taken if they had not obtained it or they took steps before obtaining the property which they would not have taken if they had not believed they were going to obtain it
- when those steps were taken, the Respondent had no notice that the property was recoverable
- if a recovery order were made in respect of the property, it would, by reason of the steps, be detrimental to the respondent
In addition to these conditions, the Court cannot make a Civil Recovery Order which would breach the Respondents rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
I have an in-depth understanding of how to build a defence to rebut a civil recovery. My clients have complete trust that I am on their side and will work ferociously to ensure their best interests are always protected.
Defending a Civil Recovery Order takes considerable skill and experience as clear, logical evidence must be presented to the Court showing that the granting of the order would be to your detriment. I will work with your Solicitor to build a solid defence; however, I can also be instructed directly, saving you time and money.