Peters & Peters

Confiscation orders against criminals need to be realistic

When offenders are convicted of serious acquisitive crimes, such as fraud, statutory mechanisms are in place to deprive them of the benefit of their criminal conduct. Courts will determine the appropriate order, but if the defendant does not pay, the order is often enforced against their assets and results in an additional period of imprisonment.

This regime, known as confiscation, is designed to be deliberately draconian. However, the complexity of its application has led to it all corners of the legal profession loathing it.

However, earlier this month, the Law Commission released a number of recommendations to overhaul the whole process, from the restraint of assets through to appeals.

Writing for The Times, Neil Swift analyses the Commission’s key proposals, including disappointing areas, what they would mean should they be implemented and raises the question as to whether great potential is being betrayed by a lack of ambition here.